Conglomerate Facts

Conglomerate Facts
Conglomerate is a coarse-grained sedimentary rock that is composed of round, gravel-sized clasts. They form by the lithification and consolidation of gravel. The large clasts can be any mineral particles or weathering product that is washed downstream or down current such as quartz, or they can be metamorphic, sedimentary or igneous rock fragments. The space between the clasts is a finer grained mixture composed of mud, sand and chemical cement, also known as matrix. Conglomerate can be found in sedimentary rock sequences of all ages but make up less than 1 percent by weight of all sedimentary rocks.
Interesting Conglomerate Facts:
Conglomerate is closely related to sandstone and displays many of the same types of sedimentary structures. Sandstone is a notably popular building material, used for things like flagstones and tile.
Conglomerate rocks are colorful and attractive; however, it is rarely used as ornamental stone for interior use because of its unreliable physical strength and durability.
Conglomerate has very few commercial uses, though it can be crushed to make a fine aggregate that can be used when a low-performance material is needed.
Conglomerate forms where sediments of rounded clasts at least two millimeters in diameter accumulate. Because of the large size of the clasts, it takes a very strong water current to transport and shape the rocks. As they tumble through the running water or moving waves, they form their rounded shape.
These rocks can be found in sedimentary rock sequences of all ages. They probably make up less than one percent by weight of all sedimentary rocks.
When the gravel clasts in a conglomerate are separated from each other and contain more matrix than clasts, it is called a paraconglomerate. When they are in contact with each other, it is called a orthoconglomerate.
Similar sedimentary rocks that are composed of large angular clasts are referred to as breccia. While a conglomerate is composed of rounded clasts, breccia is composed of broken rocks or minerals.
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity discovered an outcrop of conglomerate on the surface of Mars in September 2012. This provided evidence to scientists that a stream once ran across the area where the rover was driving. The shape and sizes of the stones can offer clues to the distance and speed of the stream's flow.

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