USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Bedform Sedimentology Site—ripples, dunes, and cross-bedding

Grain Size from Digital Images of Sediment

Beginning in the 1990's, researchers at the USGS learned that changes in grain size of sediment on the bed can cause the rate of sediment transport to change by orders of magnitude, even when flow conditions remain constant. In order to track such changes in bed sediment through time, we have developed new hardware and software to rapidly map bed-sediment grain size. This equipment can collect and process more than 100 images per hour. Descriptions of the hardware and software are provided here and in the reprints and code that are listed on this site.

Photo of camera.
Sample photo of grains.
Sample images
Excerpt from publication.
Example of computer code.
Computer code


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U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: seds/grainsize/
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Page Last Modified: 27 October 2010 (lzt)