Work Description

Title: Bayesian Population Correlation: A probabilistic approach to comparing detrital zircon age distributions Open Access Deposited
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  • The files are a set of scripts for carrying out a Bayesian inference method that models a set of probability distributions from which a sample might have been drawn. These sets of probability distributions are then used to make a quantitative assessment of how similar the two populations are. The metric of this assessment is known as Bayesian Population Correlation (BPC). The datasets for which this method is primarily intended for use are U-Pb ages of detrital zircons in sedimentary rocks or modern sedimentary systems. The paper describing this method is in review (Feb. 2018) at Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems under the following title and authors: Tye, A. R., Wolf, A. S., Niemi, N. A. Bayesian Population Correlation: A probabilistic approach to comparing detrital zircon age distributions.
  • Detrital zircon age distributions provide robust insights into past sedimentary systems, but these age distributions are often complex and multi-peaked, with sample sizes too small to confidently resolve population distributions. This limited sampling hinders existing quantitative methods for comparing detrital zircon age distributions, which show systematic dependence on the sizes of compared samples. The proliferation of detrital zircon studies motivates the development of more robust quantitative methods. We present the first attempt, to our knowledge, to infer probability model ensembles (PMEs) for samples of detrital zircon ages using a Bayesian method. Our method infers the parent population age distribution from which a sample is drawn, using a Monte Carlo approach to aggregate a representative set of probability models that is consistent with the constraints that the sample data provide. Using the PMEs inferred from sample data, we develop a new estimate of correspondence between detrital zircon populations called Bayesian Population Correlation (BPC). Tests of BPC on synthetic and real detrital zircon age data show that it is nearly independent from sample size bias, unlike existing correspondence metrics. Robust BPC uncertainties can be readily estimated, enhancing interpretive value. When comparing two partially overlapping zircon age populations where the shared proportion of each population is independently varied, BPC results conform almost perfectly to expected values derived analytically from probability theory. This conformity of experimental and analytical results permits direct inference of the shared proportions of two detrital zircon age populations from BPC. We provide MATLAB scripts to facilitate the procedures we describe.
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Funding agency
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
Citations to related material
Resource type
Last modified
  • 08/21/2019
  • 03/01/2018
To Cite this Work:
Tye, A., Wolf, A., Niemi, N. (2018). Bayesian Population Correlation: A probabilistic approach to comparing detrital zircon age distributions [Data set]. University of Michigan - Deep Blue.


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