This appeared in issue 1 of volume 44 of the Geobulletin which was published in March 2001

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Practical Geostatistics 2000 – Isobel Clark and William V Harper

Having attended Isobel’s lecture courses on geostatistics, reading her book seems to be going over familiar ground. Well known as a good teacher with a very practical bias in her lectures, her book follows the same, proven path of explanation, reinforced by numerous examples. Missing from the book is her legendary humour, yet somehow the sense of fun that one gets on her courses comes across in the text of her latest missive.

Practical Geostatistics (1979) has long been a standard, introductory text to the world of geostatistics. It is also probably one of the most photocopied text books! In the new book, the expansion from 129 A5 sized pages to over 400 A4 pages will probably dissuade anyone from photocopying it!

The book follows a tried and tested route. It starts off with a discussion of classical statistical techniques, an introduction to the various distributions encountered in mineral deposits, the use of hypothesis testing, and the establishment of relationships within a data set. These cover the first 183 pages of the book and are explained and demonstrated with numerous examples. Following on the foundation established, the text then moves into the spatial analysis of data with the introduction of the semi-variogram. The text moves onto estimation with an excellent explanation and discussion of kriging and the effect of support on estimation. The text concludes with a series of examples of various other kriging methods.

The book has an extensive, useful, bibliography and contains 16 statistical tables most commonly used in geostatistics.

An excellent CD accompanies the book. It contains the entire book in a printable form, has all the data sets used in the book and a demonstration version of the GEOSTOKOS software which works only with the supplied data sets. Nevertheless, this allows one to experiment with the techniques discussed in the book. The overall package, CD and book, provides an excellent reference and teaching aid.

The authors hint at the possibility of a second volume that will cover simulation and non linear geostatistics. I hope we don’t have to wait another 20 years for this volume to appear.

David Farrow

Geologist – De Beers Corporate Headquarters


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