Although various programs have been used in grain size data postprocessing studies, there are some limitations that restrict their application. Especially, there is a current lack of programs that easily process raw data from different laser grain size instruments in batch mode. In order to solve these problems, a MATLAB-based graphical user interface (GUI) program named GS Package has been developed and implemented. This program aims to provide an easy-to-use and synthesized solution for the problem of processing the raw data from different laser grain size instruments in batch mode. The main data processing includes raw data format conversion, processing information summary, differential and cumulative distribution exportation, parameter statistics, sediment classification and ternary diagram plotting. The testing results show that it runs well.
It is of great interest for geologists to understand the property of sediments that have been widely used to study sediment transport mechanics, the fluvial process and sedimentology research (McLaren and Bowles, 1983; Martins, 2003; EI-Gaward, et al., 2012). Given that the sedimentary environment is difficult to understand and the detailed grain-size data are difficult to interpret, statistical methods, classification schemes and graphical methods are usually employed to compare the properties of sediment particles between different samples. Various programs have been published to meet these needs, such as GRADISTAT (Blott and Pye, 2001), SEDCLASS (Poppe et al., 2003), GSSTAT (Poppe et al., 2004), SEDPLOT (Poppe and Eliason, 2008), CVORT (Poppe et al., 1988) and CENTRISET (Poppe, 2009).
Unfortunately, these earlier programs have some limitations that restrict their application in grain size data post-processing studies. First, some programs only run in a non-Windows environment without a visualization interface (Kane and Hubert, 1963; Schlee and Webster, 1967). Second, the present form of these programs are mainly focused on the statistics of the grain size parameters or plotting, making it difficult to meet the geologists' increasing demand for post-processing (Blott and Pye, 2001; Poppe et al., 2003; Poppe and Eliason, 2008). Third, different programs require different input data format, making the development of a program accepting various input data formats an urgent demand, especially with the development of laser grain size analysis instruments. There are currently several types of laser grain size analysis instruments that can supply data over 70 particle fractions when compared with those used in the filter analysis method, which was widely used before the 1990s. However, although they can provide geologists with more detailed grain size data, the different laser grain size analysis instruments produce different output data formats. For example, the Beckman Coulter LS series or Horriba LA series instruments export data in their own ASCII format, while the outputs of the Malvern Master Series instruments are stored in their own binary format and can be exported in a user-defined ASCII format. There is a current lack of programs that easily process raw data from different laser grain size instrument in batch mode.