The method of first and second differences permits, in certain instances, the detachment of major components from zig-zag curves. Because of the overlap between components, and other factors, the method is commonly subjective in part and therefore not rigorous. Three applications are shown, dealing with modern shoreline marsh samples and one dealing with an Eocene sand. Recombinations of the detached components provides curves which generally deviate from the original less than 2%. After components have been obtained, it is still not possible to identify the site of deposition of the sample. Additional applications are known from geomorphology, stratigraphy, river hydrology, and other branches of earth science. Because the results in geomorphic problems can be verified in the field, it is thought that the analysis of sediment samples is also meaningful.