UCL Earth Sciences


GEOL0061 Statistics for Geoscientists


Coordinator: Dr Pieter Vermeesch

Module details
TitleStatistics for Geoscientists
UG CodeGEOL0061
CoordinatorDr Pieter Vermeesch
Other Contributors 
Written Exam

70% exam for year 3

75% exam for MSc/Msci


30% for year 3

25% for MSc/MSci

Maths & Stats Content and Requirement 
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars10 hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes10 hours
Hours of Tutorials10 hours
Days of Fieldwork0

Session 1. Introduction to R

Session 2. Plotting data

Session 3. Summary statistics

Session 4. Combinatorics

Session 5. The Binomial distribution

Session 6. The Poisson distribution

Session 7. The Normal Distribution

Session 8. Fractal distributions and power laws

Session 9. Hypothesis tests

Session 10. Confidence intervals

Session 11. Error propagation

Session 12. Regression

Session 13. Principal component analysis

Session 14. Discriminant analysis

Session 15. Compositional data

Session 16. Directional data

Session 17. Time series

Session 18. Spatial data

Session 19. Point counting data

Session 20. Big Data




The module aims to provide the students with a basic introduction to general statistics and an awareness of the dangers of blindly applying statistical 'black boxes' to geological data.


The module will develop:

  • A basic understanding of general statistics
  • A critical attitude towards constrained data spaces such as compositional data (which are parts of a whole), directional data (which fall on a circle), spatial data (which must meet certain smoothness properties) and point counts (which are integer values drawn from an underlying composition)
  • The ability to process statistical data in the free and open R programming environment.