Interpretation of sedimentary rocks:

Depositional environment: Places where sediments are deposited. The physical characteristics and geographical location determines the type of sediment that will normally be deposited. In broad strokes, we classify depositional environments as:

In a more specific sense, we recognize several distinct major associations of sedimentary rock features associated with depositional environments:
Energy in the depositional environment: The first key to the identification of sedimentary facies and environments is the relationship between energy and clast size. Generally, the higher the energy (that is, the faster the wind or water is moving) the larger the grains that can be kept in suspension. It's deposits consist of what it can't keep in suspension. Thus:

Thus, the smaller the dominant clasts, the lower the energy of the depositional environment.

Sedimentary structures: The second key to the identification of sedimentary facies and environments is small scale physical features they display. We will cover these in more detail when we examine each environment, but here are some major ones.

And now, here's a test of your insight. What's going on in this image:



Key concepts and vocabulary: