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When zero doesn’t mean it and other geomathematical mischief

There is almost not a case in exploration geology, where the studied data doesn’tincludes below detection limits and/or zero values, and since most of the geological dataresponds to lognormal distributions, these “zero data” represent a mathematicalchallenge for the interpretation.We need to start by recognizing that there are zero values in geology. For example theamount of quartz in a foyaite (nepheline syenite) is zero, since quartz cannot co-existswith nepheline. Another common essential zero is a North azimuth, however we canalways change that zero for the value of 360°. These are known as “Essential zeros”, butwhat can we do with “Rounded zeros” that are the result of below the detection limit ofthe equipment?Amalgamation, e.g. adding Na2O and K2O, as total alkalis is a solution, but sometimeswe need to differentiate between a sodic and a potassic alteration. Pre-classification intogroups requires a good knowledge of the distribution of the data and the geochemicalcharacteristics of the groups which is not always available. Considering the zero valuesequal to the limit of detection of the used equipment will generate spuriousdistributions, especially in ternary diagrams. Same situation will occur if we replace thezero values by a small amount using non-parametric or parametric techniques(imputation).The method that we are proposing takes into consideration the well known relationshipsbetween some elements. For example, in copper porphyry deposits, there is always agood direct correlation between the copper values and the molybdenum ones, but whilecopper will always be above the limit of detection, many of the molybdenum values willbe “rounded zeros”. So, we will take the lower quartile of the real molybdenum valuesand establish a regression equation with copper, and then we will estimate the“rounded” zero values of molybdenum by their corresponding copper values.The method could be applied to any type of data, provided we establish first theircorrelation dependency.One of the main advantages of this method is that we do not obtain a fixed value for the“rounded zeros”, but one that depends on the value of the other variable.Key words: compositional data analysis, treatment of zeros, essential zeros, roundedzeros, correlation dependency

Geologische Vereinigung; Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya; International Association for Mathematical Geology; Càtedra Lluís Santaló d’Aplicacions de la Matemàtica; Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Recerca; Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia; Ingenio 2010.

Universitat de Girona. Departament d’Informàtica i Matemàtica Aplicada

Manager: Daunis i Estadella, Josep
Martín Fernández, Josep Antoni
Other contributions: Universitat de Girona. Departament d’Informàtica i Matemàtica Aplicada
Author: Valls Alvarez, Ricardo.A.
Abstract: There is almost not a case in exploration geology, where the studied data doesn’tincludes below detection limits and/or zero values, and since most of the geological dataresponds to lognormal distributions, these “zero data” represent a mathematicalchallenge for the interpretation.We need to start by recognizing that there are zero values in geology. For example theamount of quartz in a foyaite (nepheline syenite) is zero, since quartz cannot co-existswith nepheline. Another common essential zero is a North azimuth, however we canalways change that zero for the value of 360°. These are known as “Essential zeros”, butwhat can we do with “Rounded zeros” that are the result of below the detection limit ofthe equipment?Amalgamation, e.g. adding Na2O and K2O, as total alkalis is a solution, but sometimeswe need to differentiate between a sodic and a potassic alteration. Pre-classification intogroups requires a good knowledge of the distribution of the data and the geochemicalcharacteristics of the groups which is not always available. Considering the zero valuesequal to the limit of detection of the used equipment will generate spuriousdistributions, especially in ternary diagrams. Same situation will occur if we replace thezero values by a small amount using non-parametric or parametric techniques(imputation).The method that we are proposing takes into consideration the well known relationshipsbetween some elements. For example, in copper porphyry deposits, there is always agood direct correlation between the copper values and the molybdenum ones, but whilecopper will always be above the limit of detection, many of the molybdenum values willbe “rounded zeros”. So, we will take the lower quartile of the real molybdenum valuesand establish a regression equation with copper, and then we will estimate the“rounded” zero values of molybdenum by their corresponding copper values.The method could be applied to any type of data, provided we establish first theircorrelation dependency.One of the main advantages of this method is that we do not obtain a fixed value for the“rounded zeros”, but one that depends on the value of the other variable.Key words: compositional data analysis, treatment of zeros, essential zeros, roundedzeros, correlation dependency
Geologische Vereinigung; Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya; International Association for Mathematical Geology; Càtedra Lluís Santaló d’Aplicacions de la Matemàtica; Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Recerca; Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia; Ingenio 2010.
Document access: http://hdl.handle.net/2072/14728
Language: eng
Publisher: Universitat de Girona. Departament d’Informàtica i Matemàtica Aplicada
Rights: Tots els drets reservats
Subject: Anàlisi multivariable
Correlació (Estadística)
Title: When zero doesn’t mean it and other geomathematical mischief
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/conferenceObject
Repository: Recercat

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