Introduction to Sedimentology

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course gives an introduction to sedimentology and sedimentological methods. The course commences with an overview of weathering processes and their importance in forming sediments and sedimentary rocks. The following topics will subsequently be covered: sediment transport, depositional processes, sedimentary textures, mineral composition, classification and formation of the most important sediment types, depositional environments, and sedimentary basins.

The exercises will focus on how sediments and sedimentary structures are formed, and how to identify various sedimentary rocks and their depositional environment.

A 6 days field course in southern Spain in late October where the student will be introduced to sedimentological field methods and various sedimentary deposits, and how these might signal climatic conditions, sealevel changes and basin development.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student

  • can explain what a sedimentary basin is
  • can explain the difference between physical and chemical weathering
  • can explain the connection between weathering, erosion and sediment composition
  • has basic knowledge of principles in fluid dynamics relevant for transport and deposition of sediments
  • can explain how the different sedimentary structures are formed
  • can explain how sediments are transformed into sedimentary rocks
  • can explain the difference between how siliciclastic sediments and carbonate sediments are formed
  • can explain why diagenetic processes operate differently in siliciclastic and carbonate deposits
  • can explain the formation of various carbonate deposits
  • can explain the formation of various evaporite deposits
  • can explain the formation of shales, sandstones and conglomerates

The student will learn how to

  • use precise geological terms in describing and discussing sedimentary structures, textures and processes.
  • identify the main types of sedimentary rocks such as mudstones, sandstones, conglomerates, limestones and evaporites
  • interpret sedimentary processes based on the composition of the rock and sedimentary structures
  • identify the depositional environment (i.e. continental; shallow and deep marine)
  • identify sedimentary deposits that are characteristic of various types of sedimentary basins

General competence
The student

  • will acquire a basis for further studies in sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy
  • can conduct fieldwork in accordance with the HSE regulations at GEO/UiB
Teaching and learning methods

Lectures: 2 hours per week for 13 weeks

Practicals: 2 hours per week for 11 weeks covering the following topics: weathering, sedimentary textures, sedimentary structures, sandstone classification, carbonates, log interpretation, interpretation of sedimentary environments

Feedback on all practicals

Field course: 1 week in southern Spain and post-field course oral presentation of a given topic.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Field course in Spain: compulsory participation

Practicals (9) must be approved

Oral presentation of given topic in relation to the field course

Compulsory assignments are valid for 2 subsequent semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Written exam - 4 hours. Digital exam, please visit:


Permitted tools: Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations.

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program.