Siltstone, also known as aleurolite,is a clastic sedimentary rock that is composed mostly of silt. It is a form of mudrock with a low clay mineral content, which can be distinguished from shale by its lack of fissility.
Although its permeability and porosity is relatively low, siltstone is sometimes a tight gas reservoir rock,an unconventional reservoir for natural gas that requires hydraulic fracturing for economic gas production.
Siltstone was prized in ancient Egypt for manufacturing statuary and cosmetic palettes. The siltstone quarried at Wadi Hammamat was a hard, fine-grained siltstone that resisted flaking and was almost ideal for such uses.
There is not complete agreement on the definition of siltstone. One definition is that siltstone is mudrock (clastic sedimentary rock containing at least 50% clay and silt) in which at least 2/3 of the clay and silt fraction is composed of silt-sized particles. Silt is defined as grains 2–62 μm in diameter, or 4 to 8 on the Krumbein phi (φ) scale. An alternate definition is that siltstone is any sedimentary rock containing 50% or more of silt-sized particles. Siltstones can be distinguished from claystone in the field by chewing a small sample; claystone feels smooth while siltstone feels gritty.
Siltstones differ significantly from sandstones due to their smaller pores and a higher propensity for containing a significant clay fraction. Although often mistaken for a shale, siltstone lacks the laminations and fissility along horizontal lines which are typical of shale.Siltstones may contain concretions. Unless the siltstone is fairly shaly, stratification is likely to be obscure and it tends to weather at oblique angles unrelated to bedding.
Siltstone is an unusual rock, in which most of the silt grains are made of quartz.The origin of quartz silt has been a topic of much research and debate. Some quartz silt likely has its origin in fine-grained foliated metamorphic rock, while much marine silt is likely biogenic, but most quartz sediments come from granitic rocks in which quartz grains are much larger than quartz silt. Highly energetic processes are required to break these grains down to silt size. Among proposed mechanism are glacial grinding; weathering in cold, tectonically active mountain ranges; normal weathering, particularly in tropical regions; and formation in hot desert environments by salt weathering.
Siltstones form in relatively quiet depositional environments where fine particles can settle out of the transporting medium (air or water) and accumulate on the surface.They are found in turbidite sequences, in deltas, in glacial deposits, and in miogeosynclinal settings.
Limestone is a common type of carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. Limestone forms when these minerals precipitate out of water containing dissolved calcium. This can take place through both biological and nonbiological processes, though biological processes have likely been more important for the last 540 million years. Limestone often contains fossils, and these provide scientists with information on ancient environments and on the evolution of life.
Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized silicate grains. Sandstones comprise about 20–25% of all sedimentary rocks.
Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock formed from mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. Shale is characterized by its tendency to split into thin layers (laminae) less than one centimeter in thickness. This property is called fissility. Shale is the most common sedimentary rock.
Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic particles at Earth's surface, followed by cementation. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause these particles to settle in place. The particles that form a sedimentary rock are called sediment, and may be composed of geological detritus (minerals) or biological detritus. The geological detritus originated from weathering and erosion of existing rocks, or from the solidification of molten lava blobs erupted by volcanoes. The geological detritus is transported to the place of deposition by water, wind, ice or mass movement, which are called agents of denudation. Biological detritus was formed by bodies and parts of dead aquatic organisms, as well as their fecal mass, suspended in water and slowly piling up on the floor of water bodies. Sedimentation may also occur as dissolved minerals precipitate from water solution.
Marl or marlstone is a carbonate-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and silt. The term was originally loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, formed under freshwater conditions. These typically contain 35–65% clay and 65–35% carbonate. The term is today often used to describe indurated marine deposits and lacustrine (lake) sediments which more accurately should be named 'marlstone'.
Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of wind, water, or ice or by the force of gravity acting on the particles. For example, sand and silt can be carried in suspension in river water and on reaching the sea bed deposited by sedimentation; if buried, they may eventually become sandstone and siltstone through lithification.
Chert is a hard, fine-grained sedimentary rock composed of microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline quartz, the mineral form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Chert is characteristically of biological origin, but may also occur inorganically as a chemical precipitate or a diagenetic replacement, as in petrified wood.
Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size range and includes size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. In the Udden-Wentworth scale gravel is categorized into granular gravel and pebble gravel. ISO 14688 grades gravels as fine, medium, and coarse, with ranges 2–6.3 mm to 20–63 mm. One cubic metre of gravel typically weighs about 1,800 kg.
Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as sediment mixed in suspension with water and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth.
Loess is a clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment that is formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. Ten percent of Earth's land area is covered by loess or similar deposits.
A concretion is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape, although irregular shapes also occur. The word 'concretion' is derived from the Latin concretio "(act of) compacting, condensing, congealing, uniting", itself from con meaning 'together' and crescere meaning "to grow". Concretions form within layers of sedimentary strata that have already been deposited. They usually form early in the burial history of the sediment, before the rest of the sediment is hardened into rock. This concretionary cement often makes the concretion harder and more resistant to weathering than the host stratum.
Mudstone, a type of mudrock, is a fine-grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Mudstone is distinguished from shale by its lack of fissility.
Mudrocks are a class of fine-grained siliciclastic sedimentary rocks. The varying types of mudrocks include siltstone, claystone, mudstone, slate, and shale. Most of the particles of which the stone is composed are less than 1⁄16 mm and are too small to study readily in the field. At first sight, the rock types appear quite similar; however, there are important differences in composition and nomenclature.
Red beds are sedimentary rocks, typically consisting of sandstone, siltstone, and shale, that are predominantly red in color due to the presence of ferric oxides. Frequently, these red-colored sedimentary strata locally contain thin beds of conglomerate, marl, limestone, or some combination of these sedimentary rocks. The ferric oxides, which are responsible for the red color of red beds, typically occur as a coating on the grains of sediments comprising red beds. Classic examples of red beds are the Permian and Triassic strata of the western United States and the Devonian Old Red Sandstone facies of Europe.
Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals and rock. A clast is a fragment of geological detritus, chunks and smaller grains of rock broken off other rocks by physical weathering. Geologists use the term clastic with reference to sedimentary rocks as well as to particles in sediment transport whether in suspension or as bed load, and in sediment deposits.
The Ecca Group is the second of the main subdivisions of the Karoo Supergroup of geological strata in southern Africa. It mainly follows conformably after the Dwyka Group in some sections, but in some localities overlying unconformably over much older basement rocks. It underlies the Beaufort Group in all known outcrops and exposures. Based on stratigraphic position, lithostratigraphic correlation, palynological analyses, and other means of geological dating, the Ecca Group ranges between Early to earliest Middle Permian in age.
Syneresis cracks are a sedimentary structure developed by the shrinkage of sediment without desiccation – not to be confused with desiccation cracks. Syneresis is the expulsion of a liquid from a gel-like substance. Syneresis cracks are formed by the contraction of clay in response to changes in the salinity of a liquid surrounding a deposit. The cracks can occur, for example, in mudstones deposited between two beds of sandstone. The markings would have been formed subaqueously on the bedding surface and could resemble desiccation mudcracks, but are not continuous and vary in shape. They commonly occur in thin mudstones interbedded with sandstones, as positive relief on the bottom of the sandstone, or as negative relief on the top of the mudstone. Subaqueous shrinkage cracks can develop on and through a surface that has been continuously covered in water. Syneresis cracks in some shales and lime mudstones may initially be preserved as small cavities, which then usually fill with silt and sand from either the overlying or underlying beds and laminae. Usually there is no pattern to the cracks, and they do not connect to form geometric shapes. Rather they are discontinuous and shaped in one of the following categories:
Grain size is the diameter of individual grains of sediment, or the lithified particles in clastic rocks. The term may also be applied to other granular materials. This is different from the crystallite size, which refers to the size of a single crystal inside a particle or grain. A single grain can be composed of several crystals. Granular material can range from very small colloidal particles, through clay, silt, sand, gravel, and cobbles, to boulders.
Provenance in geology, is the reconstruction of the origin of sediments. The Earth is a dynamic planet, and all rocks are subject to transition between the three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Rocks exposed to the surface are sooner or later broken down into sediments. Sediments are expected to be able to provide evidence of the erosional history of their parent source rocks. The purpose of provenance study is to restore the tectonic, paleo-geographic and paleo-climatic history.
The Bokkeveld Group is the second of the three main subdivisions of the Cape Supergroup in South Africa. It overlies the Table Mountain Group and underlies the Witteberg Group. The Bokkeveld Group rocks are considered to range between Lower Devonian (Lochkovian) to Middle Devonian (Givetian) in age.
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