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ABSTRACT

This address reminisces and reflects on a subject in which I have been involved for more than twenty years: the effect of depositional processes on various parameters of the size-frequency distribution of sands. Movements of air and water generally separate particles by their sizes; the distribution of sizes relates to (1) the availability of different sizes of particles in a parent material, (2) processes operating where the sediments are deposited, particularly the competency of flow, and (3) concentrations of particles in suspension. Differences in size-frequency distributions among sands correlate with various origins, that is with their terminal depositional environments. Reminiscences in this address express my personal experience, both its up and downs, in advocating the study of this relationship, particularly in applying the method of moments on the basis of the concept that one statistical function expresses the characteristics of the population of particles.

This address re-emphasizes some points made in previous studies (Friedman, 1961, 1962b, 1967) on the interrelationship between textural parameters and depositional processes for beach, dune, and river sands and then complements and supplements data which have not been presented before. These new data are grouped on scatter plots for sands of various origins. Finally, this address displays on maps regional trends of process-induced changes in size distributions of populations of particles in sands of four different settings: (1) a beach-dune setting, as exemplified by Padre Island, Texas, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico; (2) a point-bar setting in the Arkansas River of Oklahoma; (3) a continental shelf-slope setting in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama; and (4) a continental shelf setting of the western Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey.

This address concludes with the observation that the distribution of particles in sands will be influenced by the conditions that determine what happens in the depositional environment, hence statistical parameters that define the size-frequency distribution may be related to formative process.