Learning outcomes of the course unit
The main aims of the Course “Sedimentology” will be the sedimentary structures related to unidirectional, oscillatory and combined flows. The sharp base and normally graded beds related to sediment gravity flows will be also deeply discussed.
Furthermore, the course has as main objective that to furnish to the student the basis for interpreting the main terrigenous depositional systems, that is to say alluvial, both beach and tide coastal ones, deltaic, to turbidite deep-sea systems. This type of study will be focused especially on the facies analysis, investigating most of all the relation among the various types of facies, as well as the physical processes.
Basic knowledge of geology and geomorphology
Course contents summary
The research topics of the Course “Sedimentology” will be physical stratigraphy and sedimentology of terrigenous depositional systems, that is to say alluvial, both beach and tide coastal ones, deltaic, to turbidite systems. This type of study will be focused especially on the facies analysis, investigating most of all the relation among the various types of facies, as well as the physical processes.
1) Sedimentary depositional structures
Introduction to the basic concepts of hydrodynamics,
Bedload and suspended load transport (traction, traction plus fallout and fallout processes):
Sedimentary structures related to unidirectional flows,
Sedimentary structures related to oscillatory flows,
Sedimentary structures related to combined flows.
2) Sedimentary structures related to sediment gravity flows
Sharp base and normal graded beds
The main sediment support mechanisms and types of sediment gravity flows
Dense inertial flows and massive facies
Diluted turbulent flows and laminated facies
Relationship between types of flow and dynamic grain size populations
3) Non depositional sedimentary structures
Sole structures produced by turbulence and tool impacts
Deformative structures and soft sediment deformations
Sedimentary structures and paleocurrents
Bioturbation and trace fossils
Origins, aims and problems of the stratigraphy
The economic significance of sedimentary rocks
Traditional stratigraphic units with particular emphasis to the lithostratigraphic units
5) Stratification and depositional stratigraphic units
Lamina, laminaset, bed and bedset
The main bed characteristics (geometry and thickness)
The concept of facies and facies analysis
Facies associations and facies sequences
The Walther’s law and its application to the facies analysis
Depositional systems and depositional elements
6) The main depositional systems:
Alluvial and fluvial systems
Delta systems (fan delta and river-delta systems)
Beach and tidal systems
7) The stratigraphic correlations
General concepts; regional-scale to detail correlations; the importance of stratal surface, their correct definition and stratigraphic implications.
The significance of the progressive flattenings approach and regional stratigraphic cross sections
8) The description of an outcrop
Methodology and graphic representation of the data with field examples
Bosellini A., Mutti E., Ricci Lucchi F. (1989) – Rocce e successioni sedimentarie. UTET
Ricci Lucchi F. (1992) – Sedimentolgrafia. Zanichelli
Ricci Lucchi F. (1978) – Sedimentologia, parte I, II e III. CLUEB.
Ricci Lucchi F. (1993) – I ritmi del mare. NIS.
Reading H.G. (1997) - Sedimentary Environments: Processes, Facies and Stratigraphy. Thrid Edition, Blackwell Science.
Allen JRL. (1982) - Sedimentary structures, vol. I and II. Elsevier
Allen JRL (1985) – Principles of Physical stratigraphy. Blackburn Press.
Frontal lessons focused both on theoretical and practical aspects. The course will be integrated by field trips in the northern Apennines focused on various exercises of description and interpretation of the main stratigraphic depositional units
Assessment methods and criteria
Oral test integrated by written tests with the main objective to understand the capacity of the student to solve analytical problems related to the description and interpretation of the facies characterizing the main depositional environments