New methods for unmixing sediment grain size data

Paterson, Greig A ORCID: 0000-0002-6864-7420 and Heslop, David
(2015) New methods for unmixing sediment grain size data. GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, 16 (12). pp. 4494-4506.

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Grain size distribution (GSD) data are widely used in Earth sciences and although large data sets are regularly generated, detailed numerical analyses are not routine. Unmixing GSDs into components can help understand sediment provenance and depositional regimes/processes. End-member analysis (EMA), which fits one set of end-members to a given data set, is a powerful way to unmix GSDs into geologically meaningful parts. EMA estimates end-members based on covariability within a data set and can be considered as a nonparametric approach. Available EMA algorithms, however, either produce suboptimal solutions or are time consuming. We introduce unmixing algorithms inspired by hyperspectral image analysis that can be applied to GSD data and which provide an improvement over current techniques. Nonparametric EMA is often unable to identify unimodal grain size subpopulations that correspond to single sediment sources. An alternative approach is single-specimen unmixing (SSU), which unmixes individual GSDs into unimodal parametric distributions (e.g., lognormal). We demonstrate that the inherent nonuniqueness of SSU solutions renders this approach unviable for estimating underlying mixing processes. To overcome this, we develop a new algorithm to perform parametric EMA, whereby an entire data set can be unmixed into unimodal parametric end-members (e.g., Weibull distributions). This makes it easier to identify individual grain size subpopulations in highly mixed data sets. To aid investigators in applying these methods, all of the new algorithms are available in AnalySize, which is GUI software for processing and unmixing grain size data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: grain size distributions, end-member analysis, unmixing, GUI software
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 14:43
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:42
DOI: 10.1002/2015GC006070
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