Marine Ecology

Biogenic sediment

November 6, 2011, 8:12 pm

Biogenic sediment is one of three major components of deep sea sediments, the other two being authigenic and detrital. Biogenic sediment consists mainly of calcite and opal produced as the hard parts of organisms and eventually precipitated.

This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to expand this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.

Calcite is formed by coccoliths (plants) and foraminifera (animals) and opal by diatoms (plants) and radiolarians (animals). After long term residence on the sea floor, biogenic sediments are usually transformed by pressure of the overlying ocean into limestone.

Further Reading:

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • W. S. Broecker and T.-H. Peng. Tracers in the Sea. Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Palisades, N.Y., 1982.


(2011). Biogenic sediment. Retrieved from


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