Graded Bedding Definition Geology

By | April 24, 2021

Graded Bedding Definition Geology

Graded bedding is a sedimentary structure characterized by a gradual change in the size of particles from the bottom to the top of a bed. The particles are typically coarser at the base of the bed and finer at the top. This structure is formed when sediment is deposited from a fluid that is gradually slowing down. As the fluid slows down, it loses energy and can no longer transport the larger particles. The larger particles settle out first, followed by the smaller particles. The resulting bed has a graded structure, with the coarser particles at the base and the finer particles at the top.

Graded bedding is a common sedimentary structure found in a variety of environments, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. It can be used to interpret the depositional environment of a sediment and to determine the direction of flow of the fluid that deposited the sediment.

Essential Aspects of Graded Bedding

The essential aspects of graded bedding include:

  • Grain size: The size of the particles in a graded bed varies from coarse at the base to fine at the top.
  • Sorting: The particles in a graded bed are typically well-sorted, meaning that they are all of a similar size.
  • Thickness: Graded beds can vary in thickness from a few centimeters to several meters.
  • Shape: Graded beds can be tabular, lenticular, or wedge-shaped.
  • Depositional environment: Graded beds are found in a variety of depositional environments, including rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Interpretation of Graded Bedding

Graded bedding can be used to interpret the depositional environment of a sediment and to determine the direction of flow of the fluid that deposited the sediment. The following are some of the interpretations that can be made from graded bedding:

  • Depositional environment: The depositional environment of a sediment can be interpreted from the grain size and sorting of the particles in a graded bed. For example, a graded bed with coarse particles at the base and fine particles at the top is likely to have been deposited in a high-energy environment, such as a river or ocean current. A graded bed with fine particles at the base and coarse particles at the top is likely to have been deposited in a low-energy environment, such as a lake or pond.
  • Direction of flow: The direction of flow of the fluid that deposited a sediment can be determined from the shape of a graded bed. For example, a tabular graded bed indicates that the fluid was flowing in a uniform direction. A lenticular graded bed indicates that the fluid was flowing in a channel.

Conclusion

Graded bedding is a common sedimentary structure that can be used to interpret the depositional environment of a sediment and to determine the direction of flow of the fluid that deposited the sediment. The essential aspects of graded bedding include grain size, sorting, thickness, shape, and depositional environment.


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