Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-5-263-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/gchron-5-263-2023
Short communication/technical note
 | 
17 May 2023
Short communication/technical note |  | 17 May 2023

Short communication: The Wasserstein distance as a dissimilarity metric for comparing detrital age spectra and other geological distributions

Alex Lipp and Pieter Vermeesch

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Cited articles

Amidon, W. H., Burbank, D. W., and Gehrels, G. E.: Construction of detrital mineral populations: insights from mixing of U–Pb zircon ages in Himalayan rivers, Basin Res., 17, 463–485, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2117.2005.00279.x, 2005. a
Benamou, J.-D., Carlier, G., Cuturi, M., Nenna, L., and Peyré, G.: Iterative Bregman Projections for Regularized Transportation Problems, SIAM J. Sci. Comput., 2, A1111–A1138, https://doi.org/10.1137/141000439, 2015. a
Berry, R. F., Jenner, G. A., Meffre, S., and Tubrett, M. N.: A North American provenance for Neoproterozoic to Cambrian sandstones in Tasmania?, Earth Planet. Sc. Lett., 192, 207–222, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(01)00436-8, 2001. a
Cawood, P., Hawkesworth, C., and Dhuime, B.: Detrital zircon record and tectonic setting, Geology, 40, 875–878, https://doi.org/10.1130/G32945.1, 2012. a
Condie, K. C., Belousova, E., Griffin, W. L., and Sircombe, K. N.: Granitoid events in space and time: Constraints from igneous and detrital zircon age spectra, Gondwana Res., 15, 228–242, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2008.06.001, 2009. a
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Short summary
We propose using the Wasserstein-2 distance (W2) as an alternative to the widely used Kolmogorov–Smirnov (KS) statistic for analysing distributional data in geochronology. W2 measures the horizontal distance between observations, while KS measures vertical differences in cumulative distributions. Using case studies, we find that W2 is preferable in scenarios where the absolute age differences in observations provide important geological information. W2 has been added to the R package IsoplotR.