Abstract

Henry Clifton Sorby pioneered in the last century the description and especially the hydrodynamic interpretation of sedimentary structures, together with their use as palaeocurrent indicators. Research completed since the last syntheses were published a decade ago shows that work along these lines continues to be necessary and relevant, particularly as regards the physical explanation of structures, and to present significant challenges and opportunities. Perhaps the most pressing needs are for a better understanding of (1) bedforms in gravels, silts and carbonate sediments, (2) tidal and especially sand-wave bedding, (3) hummocky and swaley cross-stratification, and (4) soft-sediment and dewatering structures in turbidites. Many sedimentary structures present a little-exploited opportunity to quantify process-rates and define short time-periods from the rock record.

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