Geologists may feel that geological data are not amenable to statistical analysis, or at best require specialized approaches such as nonparametric statistics and geostatistics. However, there are many circumstances, particularly in systematic studies conducted for environmental or regulatory purposes, where traditional parametric statistical procedures can be beneficial. An example is the application of analysis of variance to data collected in an annual program of measuring groundwater levels in Kansas. Influences such as well conditions, operator effects, and use of the water can be assessed and wells that yield less reliable measurements can be identified. Such statistical studies have resulted in yearly improvements in the quality and reliability of the collected hydrologic data. Similar benefits may be achieved in other geological studies by the appropriate use of classical statistical tools.
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Assessing the Kansas water-level monitoring program: An example of the application of classical statistics to a geological problem