USGS:Science for a changing world
Woods Hole Science Center

Database of Grain size and Composition
of Marine Sediment Samples

This database contains data on collection, location, description, and texture of samples taken by the marine sampling programs of the Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology of the U.S. Geological Survey. Map of sample locations along eastern U.S. coast

Map of sample locations
along eastern U.S. coast

Most of the samples are from the Atlantic Continental Margin of the United States, but some are from as diverse locations as Lake Baikal, Russia, the Hawaiian Islands region, Puerto Rico, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Michigan. The database contains data for about 12,000 samples and includes texture data for approximately 2300 samples taken or analyzed by the Atlantic Continental Margin Program, a joint U.S. Geological Survey/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution project conducted from 1962 to 1970. This program was under the direction of K.O. Emery from 1962 to 1968, and the data were originally reported by J.C. Hathaway (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Report 71-15, 1971).

Texture data for approximately 8000 samples analyzed by the Sediment Laboratory of the Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology of the U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole MA. after 1980 are included here. Considerable data from the period 1970 to 1980 are yet to be digitized and added.


This database is in "flat file" form, which means that it is not "normalized". While this is considered inefficient from the point of view of database management, it is the simplest way of presenting the basic data. Since I know neither the software capabilities of the user nor the probable uses that may be made of the data, I have made no attempt to split the files to reduce blank regions or remove redundancies. The same data may be presented in more than one form, e.g.: phi class frequencies and cumulative frequencies. Even though each form can be derived from the other, presenting both eliminates the need for the user to program formulas to calculate one from the other. Although this may violate the principal of having a single entry for any given data item, it greatly simplifies the use of the file. If the user wishes to make the data base more efficient through "normalization", I feel that it is better that this be done by the user to fit both the applications available to the user and the database structural logic that is familiar to the user. The price paid for the "flat file" approach is additional storage space, rather wide records, and the possibility that corrections made here at the source may fail to be carried through to all forms of the data affected. We will make every effort to see that this last possibility does not happen.

The files in this database are under three subdirectories:

    This directory contains the data and headings for the tables of data in uncompressed ASCII format. Use these files if you are not using a DOS or Windows compatible computer and wish to import the data into applications that can accept ASCII character information.

    This directory contains the same data files as in the directory above, but as self-extracting compressed files. These can be extracted using a DOS or Windows compatible computer by simply typing the file name (without the .exe extension) after you have copied the file to your computer. The full database is large; you will need as much as 26 mb available on your hard disk.

    This directory contains the same data as above in a self-extracting compressed group of files in .DB (Paradox)1/ format and accompanying family files used by Paradox. File SEDIMENT.DB, which is one of the compressed files, contains the database and is compatible with Paradox 3.5 and later versions. The other compressed files are used automatically by the appropriate versions of Paradox, including Paradox for Windows, for formatting and displaying the data. These contain no data usable directly by the user.
See the README.1ST and STRUCTUR.DOC files in each of these subdirectories for information specific to each of these groups

1/ The use of trade names in this document is for illustrative purpose only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.


This database was assembled by John C. Hathaway, Geologist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey, and is now managed by Larry Poppe.

Version of March 7, 1994

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Modified Tuesday, 13-Jun-2000 18:42:22 EDT