Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

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| Editors: Jan Harff, Martin Meschede, Sven Petersen, Jörn Thiede

Deep-Sea Sediments

  • Mitchell Lyle
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6644-0_53-2



The term “deep-sea sediments” or the interchangeable term “pelagic sediments” refers to sediments that deposit slowly in the abyssal ocean beyond the continental margins.

What Are Deep-Sea Sediments?

Deep-sea sediments typically have sedimentation rates less than 30 m/106 years, and rates as low 0.1 m/106 years have been reported. The slow sedimentation rates and unusual sediment compositions reflect the low fluxes of aluminosilicates eroded from continents. The terrigenous material that does deposit is often windblown dust. Other solids produced through biological activity, through hydrothermal leaching of basalts, or even by earth’s bombardment by meteorites can make up large fractions of a deep-sea sediment deposit.

Not all sediments in the deep ocean are deep-sea sediments depositing slowly. A significant portion of the deep ocean is filled by turbidites, which are gravity flow deposits that typically originate from the continental margins....


Continental Margin Biogenic Silica Early Diagenesis Sediment Movement Biogenic Carbonate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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I thank G. Ross Heath for his review of the manuscript. This study was supported in part by NSF grant OCE-0962184.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OceanographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA