Depositional hydrodynamics have been studied using settling rate distributions of Norwegian deep sea sediments (between Jan Mayen Island and the Vøring Plateau), together with Shields’ critical shear stress velocities. Planktonic foraminifera are the dominant sand sized component of these sediments. The bulk density of the foraminifera was calculated from their settling velocity, sieve size and shape. Density decreases from 2·39 g cm−3 at 0·05 mm diameter to 1·37 g cm−3 at 0·35 mm diameter. These density and size data were used to construct a threshold sediment movement curve. From the similarity in their Shield's critical shear-stress velocities and the observed correlation of foraminifera size with decreasing percentage of fine fraction, it is concluded that the two components, the sand size foraminifera and the quartz and carbonate silt, are transport-equivalent.