In the geological sciences, process of deposition of a solid material from a state of suspension or solution in a fluid (usually air or water). Broadly defined it also includes deposits from glacial ice and those materials collected under the impetus of gravity alone, as in talus deposits, or accumulations of rock debris at the base of cliffs. The term is commonly used as a synonym for sedimentary petrology and sedimentology. Sedimentation is generally considered by geologists in terms of the textures, structures, and fossil content of the deposits laid down in different geographic and geomorphic environments. Great efforts have been made to differentiate between continental, near-shore, marine, and other deposits in the geologic record. The classification of environments and criteria for their recognition is still a subject of lively debate. The analysis and interpretation of ancient deposits has been advanced by the study of modern sedimentation. Oceanographic and limnologic expeditions have shed much light on sedimentation in the Gulf of Mexico, the Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea, and in various estuaries, lakes, and fluvial basins in all parts of the world.
Source: Taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002