The statistical stationarity of distributions of sedimentary interbed thicknesses within the southwestern part of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) was evaluated within the stratigraphic framework of Quaternary sediments and basalts at the INL site, eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho. The thicknesses of 122 sedimentary interbeds observed in 11 coreholes were documented from lithologic logs and independently inferred from natural-gamma logs. Lithologic information was grouped into composite time-stratigraphic units based on correlations with existing composite-unit stratigraphy near these holes. The assignment of lithologic units to an existing chronostratigraphy on the basis of nearby composite stratigraphic units may introduce error where correlations with nearby holes are ambiguous or the distance between holes is great, but we consider this the best technique for grouping stratigraphic information in this geologic environment at this time.
Nonparametric tests of similarity were used to evaluate temporal and spatial stationarity in the distributions of sediment thickness. The following statistical tests were applied to the data: (1) the Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) two-sample test to compare distribution shape, (2) the Mann-Whitney (M-W) test for similarity of two medians, (3) the Kruskal-Wallis (K-W) test for similarity of multiple medians, and (4) Levene's (L) test for the similarity of two variances.
Results of these analyses corroborate previous work that concluded the thickness distributions of Quaternary sedimentary interbeds are locally stationary in space and time. The data set used in this study was relatively small, so the results presented should be considered preliminary, pending incorporation of data from more coreholes.
Statistical tests also demonstrated that natural-gamma logs consistently fail to detect interbeds less than about 2-3 ft thick, although these interbeds are observable in lithologic logs. This should be taken into consideration when modeling aquifer lithology or hydraulic properties based on lithology.