Grain shape may be described as precisely as needed by Fourier series expansion of the radius about the center of mass utilizing coordinates of peripheral points. Empirical results of grains from typical samples indicate that the series contains, in partitioned form, a large amount of geologically interesting information. Consequently, previous subjective evaluations of the worth of shape variations in the solution of geologic problems are justified. The shape variable is amenable to semiquantitative graphical evaluation or may be used as data for multivariate analytical schemes. Illustrative examples show that the shape variables easily discriminate grain differences arising from geographic, stratigraphic, and process factors.

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