Shop Windows to the Universe

Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.
Ancient sediments like these in Brittany, France, help reconstruct Paleozoic sea-level history.
Click on image for full size
Image Courtesy of Bil Haq, NSF

Paleozoic "Sediment Curve" Provides New Tool for Tracking Sea-floor Sediment Movements
News story originally written on October 2, 2008

Geologists have developed a new sediment curve which shows where sediment-on-the-move is deposited during the development of sedimentary rocks. The sediment curve covers the entire Paleozoic Era.

Bilal Haq, a marine geologist and the main author of a report on this topic, explains that the new Paleozoic sea-level sediment curve provides a way for scientists to predict where sediments are deposited on the edges of continents and in interior seaways. Haq also explains that scientists and people in the oil industry will be interested in the sediment curve because it documents what happens when sea level rises and falls. This information helps scientists interpret Earth history and learn where deposition has happened.

Scientists can use stratigraphy, which is the study of rock layering (stratification), to understand a sequence of when events happened in a particular region. Because of recent developments, scientists are now able to reconstruct sea level during the Paleozoic Era. The rises and falls of sea level during this period determine the geology both in the sea and on land.

"We hope that the publication of a sediment curve for this entire era will enhance interest in Paleozoic geology," said Haq, "and help the exploration industry in its efforts to look at older and deeper sediments."

In addition to adding to scientific understanding, what scientists learn on this topic will help the oil industry to discover oil in places where searches have never taken place.

Last modified January 16, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Step 2: Sediments on the Move!

If you sneeze into a pile of dust, the little particles fly everywhere. But if you sneeze into a pile of rocks, they will stay put. It takes more force than a sneeze to move those rocks. Winds and water...more

Sea Level

Measuring sea level, the height of the ocean surface, allows scientists to calculate whether sea level is changing over time and how much sea level rise is happening now because of global warming. But...more

Step 3: Sediments Settling Down!

When water or wind loses energy and slows down, sediment can no longer be carried in it. The particles fall through the water or air and form a blanket of sediment on the bottom of a river, a lake, ocean,...more

Triggers of Volcanic Eruptions in Oregon's Mount Hood Investigated

Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more

Oldest Earth Mantle Reservoir Discovered

The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more

Its Not Your Fault A Typical Fault, Geologically Speaking, That Is

Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more

Lower Solar Activity Linked to Changes in Sun's Conveyor Belt

The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA