Sedimentology is a branch of geology which is focused on the study of sedimentary rock and geological sediments. A practitioner of sedimentology is known as a sedimentologist. There are a number of avenues of interest within this field which people can pursue, and sedimentologists can pop up in some surprising places, from city planning offices to archeology departments. People who work in this field often pursue graduate degrees so that they can receive highly specialized training, and they can work for private companies, universities and colleges, and government agencies which are concerned with geology.
Sedimentary rock can form in a number of different ways, and one of the interests within the field of sedimentology is the study of how sedimentary rocks form, and which factors can impact the formation of rocks. Some form through gradual deposition of sediments which are later compressed, for example, while others form as water trickles through a formation and transports sediments which slowly solidify into a rock formation over the course of centuries. Sedimentologists are also interested in disruptive processes which can impact sedimentary rock, such as geologic uplift which breaks up geologic strata.
Sedimentologists also are interested in how sediments form, and the deposition processes involved in the transport of sediments around the world. Sediments can cross continents and oceans, carrying along fascinating geological information, and they are formed through processes like weathering, geologic trauma, and even human activity. Understanding both how sediments develop and how sedimentary rocks form is an important part of sedimentology.
These geologists can apply their skills in a number of ways. Some are interested in the Earth's geologic history, examining geological formations and geological strata to draw conclusions about traumatic events in the Earth's history. Others may assist archaeologists in the study of ancient life forms by studying the formation of fossils, dating strata in which fossils are found, providing information about sediments found at archaeological sites, and performing similar tasks.
People who are interested in the history of the Earth's climate may also study sedimentology or hire sedimentologists to perform research. A great deal of information about climate and weather patterns can be found in sediments, for those who know what to look for, and studying the Earth's geologic history can also provide data which may help people understand the Earth's climate. Knowing, for example, that particular patterns appear when sediments are transported by wind versus water can provide insights into how particular formations developed and what the climate conditions were like when they appeared.