Sedimentology and Laboratory

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Students will acquire the fundamental knowledge for the understanding of processes and products of carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentary facies successions and depositional environments through laboratory activities, field excursions and numerous case studies. They will improve their ability in writing reports, critical thinking and solving sedimentology related issues.
Expected learning outcomes
Students will acquire the knowledge to understand and interpret carbonate and siliciclastic rock successions in terms of depositional environments, facies types and how they varied through time and space across the geological record. Students will develop skills to describe and interpret sedimentary rocks and link them to the environment of deposition that can be applied to various fields of the Earth Sciences from subsurface exploration to water resources, environmental issues and paleoclimatology.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course is divided in two parts focussing on the sedimentology of siliciclastic and carbonate rocks, respectively.
The first part of the course focuses on siliciclastic sedimentary facies: 1) continental environments (fluvial and lacustrine); 2) paralic environments and depositional systems (fan deltas, deltas, strand plains, beaches, chenier plains, tidal plains, barrier island-lagoon systems, estuaries), 3) shelf environments and depositional systems (wave-dominated, tide-dominated, ocean currents dominated, muddy), 4) slope depositional systems (slope deltas, aprons, slope turbidite systems) and deep-marine depositional systems (deep-water fans, channel-lobe systems, basin plains).
The second part of the course introduces the student to the modern and ancient shallow water carbonate and evaporitic environments and to the recognition of their main lithofacies associations.1) Principles of carbonate production, ecology, mineralogy, chemistry and geometry of carbonate accumulation and carbonate factories. 2) The present-day carbonate environments and sediment. 3) Carbonate and evaporitic facies analysis: inner platform, sabkha, saline lagoon and basinal evaporites, high energy carbonates in beaches, tidal deltas and shoals, platform margin reefs, fore reef slopes, carbonate escarpments, slopes and basin lithofacies associations. 4) The drowning of carbonate platforms. 5) Case histories of facies analysis of ancient carbonate platforms. The course will focus on the characteristics of carbonate sediment products and processes in the geologic record and modern sedimentary environments. The analysis of present-day carbonate sediment and the processes of formation will be integrated with the description and interpretation of equivalent carbonate rock successions in the geological record. In addition important aspects, such as carbonate rock changes through the Phanerozoic and environmental, climatic and oceanographic controlling factors on the evolution of carbonate platform geometry, will be illustrated with examples from the geologic record and present-day carbonate settings.
Sedimentology laboratory practicals include field excursions addressed to the observation and description of the studied depositional environments and stratigraphic log analysis of carbonate and siliciclastic rocks.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge about sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, tectonics, petrography and geomorphology.
Teaching methods
Lectures, geological fieldtrips and laboratory activities.
Teaching Resources
1) Lectures provided by lecturers in pdf files.
2) Scientific publications quoted during the lectures.
3) Books:
Tucker M.E & Wright V.P. (1990) -Carbonate Sedimentology. Blackwell Science, pp 471.
Schlager (2005) Carbonate Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy SEPM sp. Vol 8.
Reading (1996, ed.) Sedimentary Environments. Processes, Facies and Stratigraphy. Blackwell.
Flügel (2004) Microfacies of carbonate rocks. Springer.
Facies Models, 4th Edition, James, N. & Dalrymple, R. (eds), Geological Association of Canada, Toronto, 2010.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Exams through written text and oral colloquium. The exam consists in a written text evaluated with a final mark up to 30/30. Exam questions will focus on the topics of the course program aimed at verifying the acquired knowledge, the synthesis and presentation skills and the additional study on the suggested literature and text books. The evaluation will include also the preparation of reports related on the practical activities of fieldwork and lab analyses.
Field activity: 12 hours
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 48 hours