Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (1): 77-90.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0077-1

• Geomorphology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The application of geostatistics in grain size trend analysis: A case study of eastern Beibu Gulf

MA Fei1, WANG Yaping1,2, LI Yan3, YE Changjiang1, XU Zhiwei1, ZHANG Fan1   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Coast and Island Development, Nanjing University, Nanjing 21009;
    3. Joint Key Laboratory of Coastal Study (XMU &|FJIO), Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, Fujian, China
  • Received:2009-02-16 Revised:2009-07-10 Online:2010-02-15 Published:2010-02-15
  • Contact: Wang Yaping, Professor, E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    Chinese Offshore Investigation and Assessment Project, No.908-01-ST09; State Student Innovation Training Project, No.SIT-05; Program for New Century Excellent Talents, No.NCET-06-0446; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.J0630535


There are 71 surface sediment samples collected from the eastern Beibu Gulf. The moment parameters (i.e. mean size, sorting and skewness) were obtained after applying grain size analysis. The geostatistical analysis was then applied to study the spatial autocorrelation for these parameters; while range, a parameter in the semivariogram that meters the scale of spatial autocorrelation, was estimated. The results indicated that the range for sorting coefficient was physically meaningful. The trend vectors calculated from grain size trend analysis model were consistent with the annual ocean circulation patterns and sediment transport rates according to previous studies. Therefore the range derived from the semivariogram of mean size can be used as the characteristic distance in the grain size trend analysis, which may remove the bias caused by the traditional way of basing on experiences or testing methods to get the characteristic distance. Hence the results from geostatistical analysis can also offer useful information for the determination of sediment sampling density in the future field work.

Key words: geostatistical method, semivariogram, grain size trend analysis, sediment transport, Beibu Gulf