concretion, mass or nodule of mineral matter, usually oval or nearly spherical in shape, and occurring in sedimentary rock. It is formed by the accumulation of mineral matter in the pore spaces of the sediment, usually around a fossil or fossil fragment acting as a nucleus. Most concretions are very dense and compact, and are usually composed of calcite, silica, or iron oxide. The material making up the concretion is believed to come from the surrounding rock, being redeposited around the nucleus. Concretions range in diameter from a fraction of an inch to many feet, although most are but a few inches in diameter. Perhaps the best known are the flint nodules found in chalk deposits such as those at Dover, England. Concretions having radiating cracks filled with mineral matter are called turtle stones, or septaria.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography