Compositional data analysis



Compositional data occur naturally in the geosciences — tables of chemical analyses, rock-compositions, sedimentary proportions, pollen-analytical tables, etc. The statistical analysis of such data requires special techniques and it is not possible to use standard methods of computing correlation coefficients and carry out multivariate statistical analyses without the risk of incurring grave mistakes. The special property of compositional data, to wit, the fact that the determinations on each specimen sum to a constant, means that the variables involved in the study occur in constrained space defined by the simplex, a restricted part of real space.