Classification of mineral deposits into types using mineralogy with a probabilistic neural network

Nonrenewable Resources
By:  and 



In order to determine whether it is desirable to quantify mineral-deposit models further, a test of the ability of a probabilistic neural network to classify deposits into types based on mineralogy was conducted. Presence or absence of ore and alteration mineralogy in well-typed deposits were used to train the network. To reduce the number of minerals considered, the analyzed data were restricted to minerals present in at least 20% of at least one deposit type. An advantage of this restriction is that single or rare occurrences of minerals did not dominate the results. Probabilistic neural networks can provide mathematically sound confidence measures based on Bayes theorem and are relatively insensitive to outliers. Founded on Parzen density estimation, they require no assumptions about distributions of random variables used for classification, even handling multimodal distributions. They train quickly and work as well as, or better than, multiple-layer feedforward networks. Tests were performed with a probabilistic neural network employing a Gaussian kernel and separate sigma weights for each class and each variable. The training set was reduced to the presence or absence of 58 reported minerals in eight deposit types. The training set included: 49 Cyprus massive sulfide deposits; 200 kuroko massive sulfide deposits; 59 Comstock epithermal vein gold districts; 17 quartzalunite epithermal gold deposits; 25 Creede epithermal gold deposits; 28 sedimentary-exhalative zinc-lead deposits; 28 Sado epithermal vein gold deposits; and 100 porphyry copper deposits. The most common training problem was the error of classifying about 27% of Cyprus-type deposits in the training set as kuroko. In independent tests with deposits not used in the training set, 88% of 224 kuroko massive sulfide deposits were classed correctly, 92% of 25 porphyry copper deposits, 78% of 9 Comstock epithermal gold-silver districts, and 83% of six quartzalunite epithermal gold deposits were classed correctly. Across all deposit types, 88% of deposits in the validation dataset were correctly classed. Misclassifications were most common if a deposit was characterized by only a few minerals, e.g., pyrite, chalcopyrite,and sphalerite. The success rate jumped to 98% correctly classed deposits when just two rock types were added. Such a high success rate of the probabilistic neural network suggests that not only should this preliminary test be expanded to include other deposit types, but that other deposit features should be added.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Classification of mineral deposits into types using mineralogy with a probabilistic neural network
Series title Nonrenewable Resources
DOI 10.1007/BF02816922
Volume 6
Issue 1
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 27
Last page 32
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