Stratum

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Strata in Salta (Argentina).
Goldenville strata in quarry in Bedford, Canada. These are Middle Cambrian marine sediments. This formation covers over half of Nova Scotia and is recorded as being 29,000 feet thick in some areas.

In geology and related fields, a stratum (plural: strata) is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil, or igneous rock that were formed at the Earth's surface,[1] with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. The "stratum" is the fundamental unit in a stratigraphic column and forms the basis of the study of stratigraphy.

Characteristics

The Permian through Jurassic strata in the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah demonstrates the principles of stratigraphy. These strata make up much of the famous prominent rock formations in widely spaced protected areas such as Capitol Reef National Park and Canyonlands National Park. From top to bottom: Rounded tan domes of the Navajo Sandstone, layered red Kayenta Formation, cliff-forming, vertically jointed, red Wingate Sandstone, slope-forming, purplish Chinle Formation, layered, lighter-red Moenkopi Formation, and white, layered Cutler Formation sandstone. Picture from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.

Each layer is generally one of a number of parallel layers that lie one upon another, laid down by natural processes. They may extend over hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of the Earth's surface. Strata are typically seen as bands of different colored or differently structured material exposed in cliffs, road cuts, quarries, and river banks. Individual bands may vary in thickness from a few millimeters to a kilometer or more. Each band represents a specific mode of deposition: river silt, beach sand, coal swamp, sand dune, lava bed, etc.

Naming

Geologists study rock strata and categorize them by the material of beds. Each distinct layer is typically assigned to the name of sheet, usually based on a town, river, mountain, or region where the formation is exposed and available for study. For example, the Burgess Shale is a thick exposure of dark, occasionally fossiliferous, shale exposed high in the Canadian Rockies near Burgess Pass. Slight distinctions in material in a formation may be described as "members" (or sometimes "beds"). Formations are collected into "groups" while groups may be collected into "supergroups".

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "stratification | geology". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 

External links

  • GeoWhen Database
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