The sedimentation in science geological earth, is the process of deposition of the material solid from a state of suspension or solution in a fluid that is usually air or water, and then is transported to the basin sediments . It also includes the different glacial ice deposits and those materials that are collected by means of gravity alone, such as astragalus deposits, or accumulations of rock debris at the base of cliffs. The term is commonly used synonymously with sedimentary petrology andsedimentology . The sedimentation process has been known for a long time. It is generally considered by geologists in terms of the textures , structures, and fossil content of deposits established in different geographic and geo-morphic settings .

What is sedimentation?

It is the process by which the sediments are carried by currents of water towards the areas known by the name of basins sedimentary as rivers, reservoirs, lakes and canals, that allow these particles are placed instead, altering the appearance of the zones.

  • What is sedimentation?
  • Sedimentation process
  • Types
  • Causes
  • Consequences of sedimentation
  • Examples

What is sedimentation?

Sedimentation consists of the placement and accumulation of materials that come from the results that erosion produces and that are transported until they reach a resting position , this transfer of materials can be carried out by means of natural agents such as rain , water or wind . This sedimentation can be wind , river , marine and glacial . It consists of a kind of storage of materials and is considered as the last process of morphogenesis. These deposits depend on the nature of the agent that transports them . It is important to remember that sediment is a solid material that accumulates on the surface of the earth and that arises from the different actions or processes that occur in the atmosphere , hydrosphere and biosphere . Sedimentation processes can take place basically anywhere on earth where the erosion process is present.

Sedimentation process

The sedimentation process will depend on the agents that are in charge of carrying the different particles to the sedimentary basins . It consists of the transport of sediments through water or air that have been the result of the erosion process . Sedimentation can also be seen from a chemical point of view and consists of separating by means of gravity the different particles that are suspended and whose weight is greater than the weight of water. The main purpose of the sedimentation processis to obtain a type of mud whose solid concentration is easier to treat and handle . It is used to remove sediments and organic and inorganic solids , to separate biomass and solids that are suspended in biological processes .


There are different types of sedimentation, among which we can mention the following:

  • Discrete : it is the type of sedimentation that has a considerably reduced concentration in the number of particles, so they can settle in the water individually, without having to interact with other particles.
  • Flocculant : occurs when there is a high concentration of solid particles that when they manage to group together form masses known precisely as flocs .
  • Obstructed : in this type there is a high concentration of solid particles and the water has some difficulties to flow , making it more difficult to flow.
  • By compression : this is the case in which the concentration of solid particles is too high, so the particles have to be compressed to achieve compaction of those that are lower and thus achieve adequate sedimentation .


There are two main causes of sedimentation. One of them is the agricultural areas that are used for agriculture and that are located in the downstream basins and in them a very poor type of agriculture takes place that leads to the loss of soils to a great extent . The other cause of sedimentation is the forests and the different access zones for development located in the lower areas of the rivers, such as forestry , the construction of streets, buildings and mining . With this type of activity there is aexcessive felling of trees and reforestation does not occur , causing runoff on the steepest terrain to become uncontrolled .

Consequences of sedimentation

Among the main consequences of the sedimentation process, it is worth mentioning the following:

  • There is a decrease in the depths of the waters, making it difficult to navigate the rivers and the survival of the fish.
  • A series of toxic substances are released into aquatic environments , causing irritation to their gills, leading to the death of species.
  • There is a greater number of anomalies in fish and amphibians.
  • It decreases the reproduction of living beings living in aquatic environments.
  • There is a reduction in the quality of the waters.
  • Decrease in the capacity of reservoirs .
  • Reduction of hydroelectric power generation .


  • Water purification : it is based on Stokes’ law and seeks to increase the water particles through flotation.
  • Wastewater treatment : the solid matter is removed from the water through this process.
  • Desander : it is a type of artificial sedimentation.
  • Alluvium : solid materials are transported and deposited by means of water currents.

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