Goldenville strata in quarry in Bedford, Canada. These are Middle Cambrian marine sediments. This formation covers over half of Nova Scotia and is recorded as being 29,000 feet thick in some areas.
In geology and related fields, a stratum (plural: strata) is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. The "stratum" is the fundamental unit in a stratigraphic column and forms the basis of the study of stratigraphy.
Geologists study rock strata and categorize them by the material of beds. Each distinct layer is typically assigned to the name of sheet, usually based on a town, river, mountain, or region where the formation is exposed and available for study. For example, the Burgess Shale is a thick exposure of dark, occasionally fossiliferous, shale exposed high in the Canadian Rockies near Burgess Pass. Slight distinctions in material in a formation may be described as "members" (or sometimes "beds"). Formations are collected into "groups" while groups may be collected into "supergroups".