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GEOREF RECORD

Average relative error in geochemical determinations; clarification, calculation, and a plea for consistency

Cliff R. Stanley and D. Lawie
Average relative error in geochemical determinations; clarification, calculation, and a plea for consistency
Exploration and Mining Geology (July 2007) 16 (3-4): 267-275

Abstract

The measurement of error in assays collected as part of a mineral exploration program or mining operation historically has been undertaken in a variety of ways. Different parameters have been used to describe the magnitude of relative error, and each of these parameters is related to the standard measure of relative error, the coefficient of variation. Calculation of the coefficient of variation can be undertaken in a variety of ways; however, only one produces unbiased estimates of measurement error: the root mean square coefficient of variation calculated from the individual coefficients of variation. Thompson and Howarth's error analysis approach has also been used to describe measurement error. However, because this approach utilizes a regression line to describe error, it provides a substantially different measure of error than the root mean square coefficient of variation. Furthermore, because regression is used, Thompson and Howarth's results should only be used for estimating error in individual samples, and not for describing the average error in a data set. As a result, Thompson and Howarth's results should not be used to determine the magnitudes of component errors introduced during geochemical sampling, preparation, and analysis. Finally, the standard error on the coefficient of variation is derived, and it is shown that very poor estimates of relative error are obtained from duplicate data. As a result, geoscientists seeking to determine the average relative error in a data set should use a very large number of duplicate samples to make this estimate, particularly if the average relative error is large.


ISSN: 0964-1823
Serial Title: Exploration and Mining Geology
Serial Volume: 16
Serial Issue: 3-4
Title: Average relative error in geochemical determinations; clarification, calculation, and a plea for consistency
Affiliation: Acadia University, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Pages: 267-275
Published: 200707
Text Language: English
Publisher: Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, Montreal, QC, Canada
References: 23
Accession Number: 2008-063226
Categories: General geochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: 1 table
Secondary Affiliation: ioGlobal, AUS, Australia
Country of Publication: Canada
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Geological Society of CIM. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 200814
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