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Paleozoic "Sediment Curve" Provides New Tool for Tracking Sea-floor Sediment Movements - Windows to the Universe

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Ancient sediments like these in Brittany, France, help reconstruct Paleozoic sea-level history.
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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.

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