A quantitative method of measuring roundness of outcrop gravels and its applications in the study of carbonate slope geometry

  • Cheng Cheng
  • Shuang-Ying Li
  • Liang Peng
Original Article


Roundness reflects the transport history of gravels, but methods of determining roundness in the field have had little progress over decades. In this study, we introduce a new method to quantify the roundness of gravels on outcrops by combining field digital photographs and laboratory image processing. The Chihsia Formation in northern Chaohu City, Anhui Province, South China deposited different types of calcirudites that were formed in carbonate slope environment, including light-color limestones gravels originated from platform and dark-color limestones matrix. Using this method, we calculate the roundness of gravels from different kinds of calcirudites and characterize the geometry of the carbonate slope of the Permian-aged Chihsia Formation in Chaohu area and conclude that the gravels in calcirudites are primarily sub-angular (0.11–0.28), sub-angular to rounded (0.21–0.43), and sub-rounded to rounded (0.36–0.58) in the upper, middle and lower slopes which have dip angles of 15–25°, 30–35° and 1–10°, respectively. These results show that this method not only can be used for quantitative studies of the roundness of gravel-size particles in carbonate slope environments, but may also has broad applications for investigations of the roundness of gravels in other settings.


Roundness of outcrop gravels Quantitative method Carbonate slope Permian Chihsia Formation South China 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41172097 and 41772098). The authors thank James W. LaMoreaux, Hastie Warwick, Jiang Lei, Li Guangquan, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable advice and constructive comments; this paper was substantially improved as a result of their reviews. Wang Wei is acknowledged for the field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and Environmental EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiChina

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