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Sedimentary Environment

Terrestrial Environments, Coastal Environments, Marine Environments, Continental Shelf Environments, Deep Oceanic Environments, Interpreting The Sedimentary Record

A sedimentary, or depositional, environment is an area on the Earth's surface, such as a lake or stream, where large volumes of sediment accumulate. All environments of deposition belong to one of three settings: terrestrial, coastal (or marginal marine), and marine. Subenvironments, each with their own characteristic environmental factors and sedimentary deposits, make up a sedimentary environment. For example, streams consist of channel, sand bar, levee and floodplain subenvironments, among others.

Sedimentary environments display great complexity and almost infinite variety. Variations in environmental factors such as climate, latitude, surface topography, subsurface geology, and sediment supply help determine the characteristics of a particular sedimentary environment, and the resulting sedimentary deposits. This entry deals only with typical examples of common environments, with greatly simplified descriptions.


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