Estimates of the within-station variance show which of 31 variables can be used as effective indicators of textural differences within the Baltimore Canyon Trough area, a potentially-leasable area of the Atlantic continental shelf. The variables that are most diagnostic of differences between stations are the percentages of gravel and total sand, percentages of coarse, medium, and fine sand, median and mean phi sizes, skewness, and kurtosis. Some of the 1/4-phi-size fractions within the sand range cannot define areal trends effectively. The textural variability within the Baltimore Canyon Trough area reflects the reworked and sorted sediments that cover this part of the shelf and differs from that of the more gradational sediments on the Washington state continental shelf. The magnitude of the within-station variance is not only important geologically, but it has environmental and legal ramifications for any study that characterizes shelf areas with economic potential.