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Pelagic sediments, also known as marine sediments, are those that accumulate in the abyssal plain of the deep ocean, far away from terrestrial sources that provide terrigenous sediments; the latter are primarily limited to the continental shelf, and deposited by rivers. Pelagic sediments that are mixed with terrigenous sediments are known as hemipelagic.
There are three main types of pelagic sediments:
Ooze does not refer to a sediment's consistency, but to its origin; oozes are primarily biogenic--that is, composed of planktonic debris--while red clays are non-biogenic, with little organic material. More specifically, any sediment composed of more than 30% of microscopic skeletal debris is classified as an ooze. Whatever their provenance, all pelagic sediments accumulate extremely slowly, at no more than a few centimeters per millennium.
The type of sediment that accumulates in a given locale is determined by the location's distance from land, water depth, and overall fertility. For instance, the increased solubility of carbon dioxide in seawater with pressure makes the water column more corrosive with depth; below the carbonate compensation depth of ~4.5 km, carbonate dissolution equals deposition.
Additional recommended knowledge
Details of Sediment Types
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pelagic_sediments". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|