A comparison of grain-size analysis methods for sand-dominated fluvial sediments

Michael D. Cheetham, Annabelle F. Keene, Richard T. Bush, Leigh A. Sullivan, Wayne D. Erskine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Grain-size distribution is a fundamental tool for interpreting sedimentary units within depositional systems. The techniques assessed in this study are commonly used to determine grain-size distributions for sand-dominated sediments. However, the degree of consistency and differences in interpretation when using a combination of grain-size methods have not yet been assessed systematically for sand-dominated fluvial sediments. Results obtained from laser diffraction, X-ray attenuation and scanning electron microscopy grain-size analysis techniques were compared with those obtained from the traditional sieve/ hydrometer method. Scanning electron microscopy was shown to provide an inaccurate quantitative analysis of grain-size distributions because of difficulties in obtaining representative samples for examination. The X-ray attenuation method is unsuitable for sand-dominated sediments because of its upper size range of only 300 μm. The consistently strong correlation between the laser diffraction results and the sieve/ hydrometer results shows that these methods are comparable for sand-dominated fluvial sediments. Provided that sample preparation is consistent, the latter two methods can be used together within a study of such sediments while maintaining a high degree of accuracy. These results indicate that data for sand-dominated fluvial sediments gained from the long-established sieve/hydrometer method can be compared with confidence to those obtained by modern studies using laser diffraction techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1905-1913
Number of pages9
JournalSedimentology
Volume55
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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alluvial deposit
grain size
sand
laser
diffraction
scanning electron microscopy
sediment
sample preparation
quantitative analysis
range size
comparison
method
analysis
X-ray diffraction

Cite this

Cheetham, Michael D. ; Keene, Annabelle F. ; Bush, Richard T. ; Sullivan, Leigh A. ; Erskine, Wayne D. / A comparison of grain-size analysis methods for sand-dominated fluvial sediments. In: Sedimentology. 2008 ; Vol. 55, No. 6. pp. 1905-1913.
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A comparison of grain-size analysis methods for sand-dominated fluvial sediments. / Cheetham, Michael D.; Keene, Annabelle F.; Bush, Richard T.; Sullivan, Leigh A.; Erskine, Wayne D.

In: Sedimentology, Vol. 55, No. 6, 2008, p. 1905-1913.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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