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matching fields in ascii or text files.

Folks, suggestions needed for going about the following problem:

I have columnar oceanographic data in two different data files. One is
a txt file, the other ascii. I want to compare depth values in a
column from one file to depth values in a column from a second file,
then write all values associated with a specific depth in other
columns such as temperature, conductivity, nutrients, etc, to another
file. Should I attempt some sort of boolean expression to search
through the two files to match values or is there a more efficient
method that someone can suggest?