The caption on my website reads: “Geostatistics: From human error to scientific fraud.” Much of it is still the way it was when I posted it in August 2005. Those who wish to grasp geosciences ought to take a close look at what it took Professor G Matheron to cook up his new science of geostatistics. Here’s what he did do in a nutshell! He stripped the variance off the distance-weighted average and called what was left a kriged estimate. Infinite set of kriged estimates and zero kriging variances became the heart and soul of Matheronian geostatistics. Matheron’s disciples quickly went to work with infinite sets of kriged estimates and zero kriging variances. It was not so much a shame that Matheron goofed! What was a shame is that so many of his disciples goofed along! Fisher’s F-test and degrees of freedom never played a role in Matheron’s novel science of geostatistics. It is simple comme bon jour to find out that geostatistocrats neither took to testing for spatial dependence nor to counting degrees of freedom!
Professor G Matheron defied his PhD supervisors and flunked
What made Matheron’s new science of geostatistics click? Who knows! Stripping the variance off the distance-weighted average and calling what’s left “a kriged estimate” made no sense at all. All the same, infinite sets of kriged estimates and zero kriging variances became the heart and soul of geostatistics. So what did young Matheron do with applied statistics in 1954? He tested for associative dependence between lead and silver grades of drill core samples. The degree of associative dependence between lead and silver grades turned out to be ρ=0.85. What he didn’t do was test for spatial dependence between grades of ordered core samples. Neither did he derive weighting factors to take into account that core samples varied in density and length. Matheron marked it Note Statistique No 1 but made a correction. Sets of primary data were not as prominent in Matheron’s work as were his superstrings of symbols. The custodian of Matheron’s magnum opus thought it fitting to change Note Statistique No 1 to Note Geostatistique No 1. Perhaps a touch of deception but Matheron’s novel science was not going anywhere fast in deep time. Are all of Matheron’s sets of measured data archived? Was D C Krige tickled pink when his name turned into a genuine eponym? Many questions have yet to be answered!
It took chutzpa to go the USA in June 1970 and peddle geostatistics as a new science. The more so since Professor Matheron would rather flunk his PhD thesis than reunite the distance-weighted average and its variance! So here’s how he flunked! His PhD supervisors had asked him to show how to test for spatial dependence between sets of randomized and ordered whole numbers. Yet, Matheron saw fit to ignore this request! His PhD thesis was called Regionalized variables and their estimation”. It added up to 301 pages of dense text with two (2) sets of whole numbers on the first page followed by scores of symbols on the next 300. What his PhD supervisors had asked him to do is to test both sets for spatial dependence. Since nobody had been inspired to do so I took to testing each set for spatial dependence.
M&S derive 16 kriged estimates
Matheron brought along a pair of his disciples. Matheron talked about Brownian motion along a straight line. Marechal and Serra talked about Random Kriging and showed how to derive 16 kriged estimates from 9 measured grades. David pointed to M&S’s Figure 10 on page 286 in his 1977 . David wondered how to make infinite sets of simulated values smaller. Good grief! Matheron’s new science was a gift to those who ignore the power of Fisher’s F-test and the concept of degrees of freedom. So he got the world stuck with infinite sets of variance-deprived kriged estimates and zero kriging variances! That’s what Matheron’s gift to mankind has been in a nutshell. Incredibly, he was hailed not only as the Founder of Geostatistics but also as the Creator of Spatial Statistics. Professor G Matheron passed away the 7th of August 2000.