Compositional data analysis of Holocene sediments from the West Bengal Sundarbans, India: Geochemical proxies for grain-size variability in a delta environment

Rory Flood, M. R. Bloemsma, G. J. Weltje, I. D. Barr, S. M. O’Rourke, J. N. Turner, J. D. Orford

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This paper is part of a special issue of Applied Geochemistry focusing on reliable applications of compositional multivariate statistical methods. This study outlines the application of compositional data analysis (CoDa) to calibration of geochemical data and multivariate statistical modelling of geochemistry and grain-size data from a set of Holocene sedimentary cores from the Ganges-Brahmaputra (G-B) delta. Over the last two decades, understanding near-continuous records of sedimentary sequences has required the use of core-scanning X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, for both terrestrial and marine sedimentary sequences. Initial XRF data are generally unusable in ‘raw-format’, requiring data processing in order to remove instrument bias, as well as informed sequence interpretation. The applicability of these conventional calibration equations to core-scanning XRF data are further limited by the constraints posed by unknown measurement geometry and specimen homogeneity, as well as matrix effects. Log-ratio based calibration schemes have been developed and applied to clastic sedimentary sequences focusing mainly on energy dispersive-XRF (ED-XRF) core-scanning. This study has applied high resolution core-scanning XRF to Holocene sedimentary sequences from the tidal-dominated Indian Sundarbans, (Ganges-Brahmaputra delta plain). The Log-Ratio Calibration Equation (LRCE) was applied to a sub-set of core-scan and conventional ED-XRF data to quantify elemental composition. This provides a robust calibration scheme using reduced major axis regression of log-ratio transformed geochemical data. Through partial least squares (PLS) modelling of geochemical and grain-size data, it is possible to derive robust proxy information for the Sundarbans depositional environment. The application of these techniques to Holocene sedimentary data offers an improved methodological framework for unravelling Holocene sedimentation patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-235
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Early online date23 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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