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The shapes of 8,000 fine quartz sand grains from Malaquite Beach, North Padre Island, were analyzed with the Fourier shape technique. It was found with this technique that dune sands can be differentiated easily from beach sands on the basis of both their gross and fine (roundness) shape characteristics.
The analysis of samples from transects across the beach and dunes also reveals a high degree of grain-shape variation within these environments. This variation is due to the effects of hydrodynamic and aerodynamic sorting by swash and wind currents respectively.
The Fourier technique provides a rapid and objective manner to discriminate between beach and dune sands, and can be applied to ancient as well as modern sands with equal facility.
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