Geological Models in Transition
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The past decade was a time of transition from dominantly univariate statistical procedures in geology to increasingly multivariate techniques as the influence of the computer spread through the science. The accompanying rapid rise of the model concept in geology brought with it a diversity in methods of structuring data for search procedures and statistical predictor models. The general linear model, with its great flexibility, easily rose to dominance in this domain, both for research and practical application.
But other transitions, mostly unanticipated a decade ago, were also on their way. Simulation models, introduced for computer experimentation in several fields, called attention to the need for more critical and analytical structuring of geological models. The newer models in large part specify (or at least suggest) the types of observational data needed to test their relevance to real-world phenomena. This is particularly true for probabilistic models, in which conventional time-honored observations do not always provide critical data for discrimination among competing models. The spatial implications of the models require critical examination supported by new types of field observations not normally made in a search approach. Population densities of simulation input variables and operational definitions for their measurement also need reevaluation. This paper discusses the problems in the context of stratigraphic analysis and of stream networks in geomorphology.
KeywordsMarkov Chain Stream Network Topological Class Topological Form Distinct Network
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