EARTH LAB: Sedimentary Layers

Objective:

Demonstrate how sedimentary layers are formed as sediments settle over time.

MP4 WebM Ogg

Materials:

  • Empty clear plastic bottle with sealable lid- Peanut butter jars work best, but also consider ketchup, two liters, and tennis ball tubes
  • Variety of sediments: mud, soil, sand, natural clay, and pebbles.
  • Water

Procedure:

  1. Fill the bottle approximately 1/3 full with a variety of sediments: mud, soil, sand, natural clay, and pebbles.
  2. Fill the remaining space with tap water
  3. Secure the lid
  4. Shake the bottle like crazy until the contents are completely mixed.
  5. Place the bottle on a flat surface.
  6. Observe the sediments as they form layers. Some layers will form very quickly while others make take a day or more.
  7. If left undisturbed, the water will become nearly clear as gravity pulls all of the sediments to the bottom of the jar.

Questions:

What types of material form each layer?
If you shake the bottle a second time, do the materials form similar layers?

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