05-MAR-1-C5 Sedimentary Structures and Processes: Shelves and Passive Margins

Representative: Tilmann Schwenk


A major element of the marine environment are particles derived from biogenic production or terrigenuous sediment input, which accumulate to thick sequences on continental margins and in the deep sea. The processes responsible for the transport of particles, their deposition and the interfaces and structures as a results of environmental changes and tectonics forces are the central focus of this module integrating sedimentological, geophysical and actuo-paleontological results. Training on the application of advanced methods of data interpretation from two- and three-dimensional imaging from echosounder to deep seismic records is included. This is applied on selected case studies from current research. Building up on this knowledge a second course introduces the main features of carbonate and terrigenous sedimentation patterns in tropical and non-tropical shelf environments along latitudinal and bathymetrical traverses. Analysis of sediment dynamics and ecological pattern on shelves provide important links between terrestrial and oceanic responses to global climate forcing. Finally sediment dynamics, in particular slope stability and mass wasting phenoma, are analysed and discussed in terms of sedimentary and evolutionary models for selected modern and ancient case studies.

Joint oral exam on module content (60%):

Oral exam (20 minutes per candidate, two examiners) covering all topics of all three courses of the module ("Sedimentology and ecology of shelves", "Seismic and acoustic imaging", "Sedimentary structures and processes of passive continental margins")

Practical exams (40%):

Oral presentation (20%) of a topic on "Seismic and acoustic imaging"

Written report (20%) on description and interpretation of a sedimentary core record and seismic information associated to the topics presented in the course "Sedimentary structures and processes of passive continental margins"

Learning Outcome

Advanced training in facies analysis, acoustic imaging and evaluation of conceptional sedimentation models for tropical and nontropical carbonaceous and siliciclastic modern and ancient continental margin systems (shelf and continental slope settings).


Basic sedimentological and geophysical knowledge.


Amount of work
270 hours / 9 CP
- 10 h presence in Seismic and acoustic imaging
- 30 h Presence in Sedimentology and Ecology of Shelves
- 30 h Presence in Sedimentary structures and processes: passive margins
- 70 h Repetition of content of the lectures
- 90 h Work time for case study and written report
- 40 h Preparation time for the oral exam


module exam (combined marks):

oral exam60 %
written report20 %
seminar talk20 %