Influence of sieving time on the efficiency and accuracy of grain-size analysis of beach and dune sands



Grain size is a fundamental property of sediments and is commonly used to describe sedimentary facies and classify sedimentary environments. Among the various conventional techniques utilized to determine grain-size frequency distributions, sieving is the most widely applied procedure. The accuracy of such analyses is, among other factors, strongly dependent on the sieving time. However, despite a substantial amount of research in this field, optimal sieving times for different types of sediments have, to date, not been established. In this article, the influence of sieving time on grain-size analyses of medium-grained microtidal and mesotidal beach and dune sands has been determined. To assess the precision of important textural parameters, such as median grain size, sorting, skewness and kurtosis, an error analysis was carried out for different sieving times (2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes). After calibrating the analytical and sampling methodologies, significant deviations were registered when sieving time was less than 10 minutes. However, such deviations were very small and grain-size distributions remained almost identical for sieving times of 10 minutes and longer, relative errors being as low as 0% in some cases.