The modern viewpoint in sedimentary petrology involves the study of sets of related samples, rather than the study of a single sample and a consideration of its histogram. A natural extension of the modern point of view is the study of an entire environment of deposition, involving the analysis of samples collected at relatively short distances over the entire area of the same environment. The characteristics of each sample may then be determined in the laboratory, and, from the data so obtained, a picture of the deposit gained.1
The laboratory study of the samples may include all the fundamental characteristics of sediments, such as the size-frequency distribution, the mineralogical or lithological composition, the shape of the particles, the surface texture of the particles (frosting, pitting, and the like), and finally the orientation of the individual particles in space. These fundamental data, if they are expressible as continuous functions of . . .