Computer program for presentation of grain-size data by the graphic method



A computer program is described for a Hewlett-Packard desk-top Calculator (Model 9820A)-Plotter (Model 9862A) which plots a histogram, frequency polygon and/or cumulative curve, as well as standard statistical parameters and percentages of gravel, sand, silt, and clay from raw weight data from a sediment grain-size analysis. The program utilizes the graphic method for calculating statistical parameters in contrast to other commonly used computer programs derived for the method of moments.

This program is advantageous because (1) it is rapid, (2) it allows direct comparison with grain-size data in the literature which have been computed by the graphic method, (3) either a complete presentation of a distribution can be obtained on one sheet of paper or a series of cumulative curves or frequency polygons can be prepared on a single graph which is ready for publication photocopying, (4) automatic extrapolation of data points from a cumulative curve eliminates inconsistencies arising from manual extrapolation, and (5) the desk-top calculator is more convenient to use, eliminates punching of data cards, and can be operated by someone without a knowledge of computers and programming. Disadvantages of the program are: (1) some authors feel critical percentiles are more accurately read off cumulative curves plotted on a probability ordinate than on an arithmetic ordinate, (2) the cumulative curve is a series of straight-line segments, (3) the frequency polygon is not as accurate a representation of grain-size distribution as a frequency curve and (4) size class intervals for the histogram and frequency polygon are standardized at 0.5φ, even though gravel and mud fractions are analysed at whole φ intervals. For most studies, the advantages of the program outweigh the disadvantages.