A visual basic program to generate sediment grain-size statistics and to extrapolate particle distributions

Computers & Geosciences

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Measures that describe and summarize sediment grain-size distributions are important to geologists because of the large amount of information contained in textural data sets. Statistical methods are usually employed to simplify the necessary comparisons among samples and quantify the observed differences. The two statistical methods most commonly used by sedimentologists to describe particle distributions are mathematical moments (Krumbein and Pettijohn, 1938) and inclusive graphics (Folk, 1974). The choice of which of these statistical measures to use is typically governed by the amount of data available (Royse, 1970). If the entire distribution is known, the method of moments may be used; if the next to last accumulated percent is greater than 95, inclusive graphics statistics can be generated. Unfortunately, earlier programs designed to describe sediment grain-size distributions statistically do not run in a Windows environment, do not allow extrapolation of the distribution's tails, or do not generate both moment and graphic statistics (Kane and Hubert, 1963; Collias et al., 1963; Schlee and Webster, 1967; Poppe et al., 2000)1.

Owing to analytical limitations, electro-resistance multichannel particle-size analyzers, such as Coulter Counters, commonly truncate the tails of the fine-fraction part of grain-size distributions. These devices do not detect fine clay in the 0.6–0.1 μm range (part of the 11-phi and all of the 12-phi and 13-phi fractions). Although size analyses performed down to 0.6 μm microns are adequate for most freshwater and near shore marine sediments, samples from many deeper water marine environments (e.g. rise and abyssal plain) may contain significant material in the fine clay fraction, and these analyses benefit from extrapolation.

The program (GSSTAT) described herein generates statistics to characterize sediment grain-size distributions and can extrapolate the fine-grained end of the particle distribution. It is written in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 and provides a window to facilitate program execution. The input for the sediment fractions is weight percentages in whole-phi notation (Krumbein, 1934; Inman, 1952), and the program permits the user to select output in either method of moments or inclusive graphics statistics (Fig. 1). Users select options primarily with mouse-click events, or through interactive dialogue boxes.

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Journal Article
A visual basic program to generate sediment grain-size statistics and to extrapolate particle distributions
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Computers & Geosciences
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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
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