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Geologic data commonly are recorded as one-dimensional functions in which each observation is associated with its position on a continuous and ordered location-reference axis. Distinct subsets (zones) within ordered data sets can be recognized and identified statistically by an analysis of variance procedures developed by Beghtol. An optimal subdivision is attained if zones are established such that the within-zone variance is minimized and the between-zone variance is maximized. The search for the most suitable boundaries is an iterative procedure in which all possible arrangements into two contiguous zones are considered at each stage. The suitability of each proposed boundary is evaluated by computing a zonation index. The one yielding the highest index is the one sele ted as the first boundary. The procedure is repeated for each established zone until one of two prespecified termination conditions is met: either the index is found to decrease or the number of zones requested have been selected.
Examples representative of numerous situations in subsurface geologic studies are presented to illustrate the utility and effectiveness of the method. It has wide application in the automation of digitized-log evaluation. It proved useful as a data-reduction tool in the integration of multiwell information into a comprehensible and representative three-dimensional picture. The method is general and lends itself to many additional applications in other branches of geology, as well as in other disciplines.
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