Direct assessment of particle breakage, in both natural and artificial environments, is made possible by comparing the strengths of suites of particles which have survived a process with the strengths of suites, otherwise similar, that have not been involved in the process. The ) fragmentation load,' the load required to bring about breakage of an individual particle between parallel plane surfaces, is the basic quantity used. It is measured in a slightly modified unconfined compression test machine. Fragmentation of coarse plutonic quartz appears to be a major process in a stream.

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