Earth Science

Earth Materials

Lithification of Sedimentary Rocks

Study Tip
Clast- is a Greek root that means broken. Clastic rocks are rocks that are formed from broken pieces of rock. Other words with this root: Iconoclast: a breaker of beliefs or traditional institutions; osteoclast: A cell breaks up organic bone.

First Step of Lithification

  • Compaction: Sediments are squeezed together by the weight of overlying sediments on top of them.
  • Clast-cemented, non-organic sediments become clastic rocks.
  • Clastic: Contains fragments of preexisting rock.
  • If organic material is included, they are bioclastic rocks.
Study Tip
Clast- is a Greek root that means broken. Clastic rocks are rocks that are formed from broken pieces of rock. Other words with this root: Iconoclast: a breaker of beliefs or traditional institutions; osteoclast: A cell breaks up organic bone.
Study Tip
The same way a person may cast a shadow over another person when they stand under the sun, planets or celestial bodies that have aligned themselves cast shadows over one another as well.

Second Step of Lithification

  • Cementation: When fluids deposit ions to create cement that hardens loose sediments.
  • Fluids fill in the spaces between the loose particles of sediment and crystallize to create a rock by cementation.
Concept Check
  • Explain the steps of lithification.
Supplemental Learning
  • The sediment size in clastic sedimentary rocks varies greatly (see Sedimentary Rocks Classification).
cliff is made of sandstone
This cliff is made of sandstone. Sands were deposited and then lithified.
Concept Check
  • Explain the steps of lithification.
Supplemental Learning
  • The sediment size in clastic sedimentary rocks varies greatly (see Sedimentary Rocks Classification).