Mathematical Geology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 795–828 | Cite as

Groups of Parts and Their Balances in Compositional Data Analysis



Amalgamation of parts of a composition has been extensively used as a technique of analysis to achieve reduced dimension, as was discussed during the CoDaWork'03 meeting (Girona, Spain, 2003). It was shown to be a non-linear operation in the simplex that does not preserve distances under perturbation. The discussion motivated the introduction in the present paper of concepts such as group of parts, balance between groups, and sequential binary partition, which are intended to provide tools of compositional data analysis for dimension reduction. Key concepts underlying this development are the established tools of subcomposition, coordinates in an orthogonal basis of the simplex, balancing element and, in general, the Aitchison geometry in the simplex. Main new results are: a method to analyze grouped parts of a compositional vector through the adequate coordinates in an ad hoc orthonormal basis; and the study of balances of groups of parts (inter-group analysis) as an orthogonal projection similar to that used in standard subcompositional analysis (intra-group analysis). A simulated example compares results when testing equal centers of two populations using amalgamated parts and balances; it shows that, in certain circumstances, results from both analysis can disagree.


simplex Euclidean geometry log-ratio analysis orthogonal projection subcomposition amalgamation 


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© International Association for Mathematical Geology 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Matemàtica Aplicada IIIUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Campus Nord)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento d'Informàtica i Matemàtica AplicadaUniversitat de GironaGironaSpain

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