If readers have taken heed of our recommendations for an appropriate mental framework for selecting inclusions for microthermometry (see Chapter 7), then the method for proper presentation of data will be straightforward. Those who have not collected data with respect to petrographically related assemblages of inclusions (FIAs) have chosen an inappropriate methodology in which they must assume that any variability in their data is due to the vagaries of nature. Such an assumption leads to a philosophy that maintains that it is both appropriate and sufficient to portray variability to a reader by lumping all data into a few encompassing histograms, and then to interpret the data from statistically determined means and modes. It is very understandable that such logic seems reasonable, but the fallacy is the assumption that any variability is “natural” and to be expected. Consider the numerous natural cases where inclusions along a single microfracture or a single growth zone yield very consistent microthermometric results, or the cases in which data from synthetically produced inclusions vary less than a few tenths of a degree! For these groups of inclusions trapped at a certain P-T-X condition, there is, in fact, little “natural” variability. So, in contrast to what a geoscientist might initially think, the more appropriate philosophical viewpoint should be that data are expected to be consistent, but only if the following criteria are met:
The data come from a single petrographically related population (FIA) of inclusions that samples a single event.