Science, Maths & Technology

Carbon process: Sedimentation

Updated Sunday 7th May 2000

As rivers deposit their contents, carbon starts to lay down.

Example of sedimentation: Mud Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com

Part graveyard, part rubbish dump, sediment contains carbon in the broken remnants of living things. Rivers pick up the remains of animals and plants, containing organic carbon. This is carried for a while, then dropped where the river slows down at bends, or in deltas where it meets the sea.

Millimetre by millimetre the sediments grow.

In freshwater wetlands, plants fall and settle where they die. The organic carbon they contain accumulates slowly.

In the sea, the bodies and shells of plankton and larger animals fall through the water. Much is dissolved, but ultimately some is deposited as sediment on the ocean floor.

In shallow tropical seas, coral skeletons and animal shells make up much of the sediment. The carbon in these is in the form of calcium carbonate.

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Carbon process: Weathering Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Carbon process: Weathering

The wind, the rain and ice can take carbon locked inside rocks, and set it free.

Article
Carbon process: Lithification Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Carbon process: Lithification

It means, literally, to turn to stone. It's how sediments become rocks.

Article
Carbon process: River transport Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Carbon process: River transport

The rivers are moving carbon across the planet.

Article
Carbon in marine carbonate sediment Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Carbon in marine carbonate sediment

Shells and skeletons of dead sea creatures hold carbon in the sea sediments.

Article
Carbon in marine organic sediment Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Carbon in marine organic sediment

All sorts of consumers feed on the organic material found in the waters.

Article
Elements of the Periodic Table Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license activity icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Elements of the Periodic Table

Explore the impact of chemical elements on our bodies, our world, and see how they changed the course of history

Activity
The three-way catalytic converter Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

The three-way catalytic converter

This free course is concerned primarily with the chemistry that underpins the operation of the three-way catalytic converter that is placed in the exhaust systems of motor vehicles in order to reduce the emissions of primary pollutants: carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, including hydrocarbons. Discussion of the various effects of these pollutants and the consequent introduction and refinement of 'automotive emission regulations' has not been included, nor is there a look forward to future research trends.

Free course
12 hrs
Introduction to polymers Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Introduction to polymers

This free course, Introduction to polymers, examines the use of polymers and demonstrates how their properties are controlled by their molecular structure. You will learn how this structure determines which polymer to use for a particular product. You will also explore the manufacturing techniques used and the how the use of polymerisation can be used to control the structure of polymers.

Free course
20 hrs
Hat makers, Greek gods and the great poisoners Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © Ventin | Dreamstime.com - Shiny Mercury Photo article icon

Science, Maths & Technology 

Hat makers, Greek gods and the great poisoners

Ever wondered where the phrase 'as mad as a hatter' came from? We take a look at some infamous cases of poisoning. 

Article