Sedimentary structures

Sedimentary structures include all kinds of features formed at the time of deposition. Sediments and sedimentary rocks are characterized by bedding, which occurs when layers of sediment, with different particle sizes are deposited on top of each other.[1] These beds range from millimeters to centimeters thick and can even go to meters or multiple meters thick.

Sedimentary structures such as cross bedding, graded bedding and ripple marks are utilized in stratigraphic studies to indicate original position of strata in geologically complex terrains and understand the depositional environment of the sediment.

Flow structures

Megaripple/dune, formed in the upper flow regime, from Utah.

There are two kinds of flow structures: bidirectional (multiple directions, back-and-forth) and unidirectional. Flow regimes in single-direction (typically fluvial) flow, which at varying speeds and velocities produce different structures, are called bedforms. In the lower flow regime, the natural progression is from a flat bed, to some sediment movement (saltation etc.), to ripples, to slightly larger dunes. Dunes have a vortex in the lee side of the dune. As the upper flow regime forms, the dunes become flattened out, and then produce antidunes. At higher still velocity, the antidunes are flattened and most sedimentation stops, as erosion takes over as the dominant process.