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Deep penetration of marine sediments by the Deep Sea Drilling Project has permitted the study of the postdepositional physical and chemical changes which take place in deep sea sediments. Such studies have not been possible previously because of the inaccessibility of the deep-sea environment. The diagenetic changes can be viewed as functions of time, lithology, and rate of sedimentation. With the passage of time and increasing deposition of sediment, lithification proceeds gradually until the lithified analogs of facies normally found as soft surface sediments are formed. These lithified and partly lithified rocks can be compared with their unlithified equivalents and with lithified formations of possible deep-sea origin now found on the continents.
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