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Shape and Erosion of Pebbles

Durian, D.J.; Bideaud, H.; Duringer, P.; Schröder, A.; Marques, C.M.

Saturday 19 July 2008, by mcube members

The shapes of flat pebbles may be characterized in terms of the statistical distribution of curvatures measured
along their contours. We illustrate this method for clay pebbles eroded in a controlled laboratory apparatus, and
also for naturally occurring rip-up clasts formed and eroded in the Mont St.-Michel bay. We find that the
curvature distribution allows finer discrimination than traditional measures of aspect ratios. Furthermore, it
connects to the microscopic action of erosion processes that are typically faster at protruding regions of high
curvature. We discuss in detail how the curvature may be reliably deduced from digital photographs.