This syllabus is by no means intended as a textbook on sediments. Rather, it was originally intended to supplement lecture and laboratory material given in sedimentary petrology courses at The University of Texas. Consequently it is to be used in conjunction with standard textbooks in the field such as Pettijohn, Sedimentary Rocks, Krumbein and Pettijohn, Manual of Sedimentary Petrology, Blatt, Middleton and Murray, Origin of Sedimentary Rocks, Pettijohn, Potter and Siever, Sand and Sandstones, Bathurst, Carbonate Rocks, Carver, Procedure in Sedimentary Petrology, or Royse, Sediment Analysis. For this reason, no references to the literature are given, as these references are readily available in those texts. Persons responsible for particular ideas are indicated by parentheses. Figure revisions are by Connie Warren.
None of the statements herein are to be regarded as final; many ideas held valid as recently as two years ago are now known to be false. Such is the penalty of research. This syllabus merely states the present condition of the subject. The rapid rate at which sedimentary petrologic data is now accumulating is bound to change radically many of the ideas contained within.
Much of this syllabus is based on material obtained in sedimentation courses taught at the Pennsylvania State College by Paul D. Krynine and J. C. Griffiths, 1945-1950, together with later modifications of and additions to this material by the present author during his own work on sediments after 1950. I would therefore like to dedicate this booklet to those two inspiring teachers: Krynine, without peer as a sedimentary petrographer, mineralogist and man of ideas (see JSP Dec. 1966); and Griffiths, pioneer in the application of rigid statistical techniques to description of the physical properties of sediments.
Historically, Henry Clifton Sorby of Sheffield, England (1826-1908) is the founder of sedimentary petrography (and microscopic petrography in general). His work was so voluminous and so excellent that it was not matched until well into the twentieth century, fifty years after his publications. Although the microscope had been used earlier to study slides of fossils and a few rocks, Sorby was the first geologist to realize their importance, cut his first thin section in 1849 (a cherty limestone) and published on it in 1851, the first paper in petrography. Sorby demonstrated his technique to Zirkel in 1861, and thus igneous petrography was born. Sorby's three monumental papers were on the origin and temperature of formation of crystals as shown by their inclusions, etc. (1858); on the structure and origin of limestones and petrography of fossil invertebrates (1879); and on quartz types, abrasion, surface features, and petrography of schists and slates (1880). He made 20,000 paleocurrent measurements for a decade before his publication (1859). He also has fundamental publications in structural petrology (1856), studied fluvial hydraulics, founded the science of metallography in 1864, and devoted the latter part of his life to study of recent sediments and marine biology. A good biography is given by Judd (1908, Geol. Mag.), and Naturalist (1906) lists some 250 of Sorby's papers; a short review of Sorby's career is given in J. Geol. Educ. 1965. Even today his papers deserve detailed study by every petrographer. Two volumes of his collected works have been edited by C.H. Summerson (publ. by the University of Miami).