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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Jul 14;97(2):028001. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

What is in a pebble shape?

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104-6396, USA.


We propose to characterize the shapes of flat pebbles in terms of the statistical distribution of curvatures measured along the pebble contour. This is demonstrated for the erosion of clay pebbles in a controlled laboratory apparatus. Photographs at various stages of erosion are analyzed, and compared with two models. We find that the curvature distribution complements the usual measurement of aspect ratio, and connects naturally to erosion processes that are typically faster at protruding regions of high curvature.

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