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MineSight in the Foreground

Variograms in MineSight Data Analyst (MSDA)

MineSight Data Analyst (MSDA) is a package of statistical and geostatistical programs; roughly a superset of the MineSight M300 and M400 series. It includes histograms, scatterplots, cumulative probability plots, variograms, Variogram 3-D modeling, and custom (user-defined) reports. MSDA supports all MineSight drillhole, blasthole, and block model files, as well as ODBC compliant databases and text files. This article discusses, in preliminary detail, MSDAs applications to variogram modeling in MineSight projects. Future articles will delve into the many intricate details of MSDA. Start MSDA and open a project. For the purposes of this article, we will assume the project is using a MineSight composites file. MSDA permits the user to display the filenames of the projects variograms, histograms, scatterplots, etc., for selection and viewing (Figure 1). These files, when created, are displayed in the lower panel, under MSDA Files. In this instance, we will only display Variograms and, therefore, we will select this option only. Upon selection, a check mark will be automatically placed beside the word Variogram. In order to create a set of variograms, select Variogram from the Tools menu. Once you select this option, a new panel (Variogram Parameters) pops up (Figure 2)

Figure 2

A number of options are available in the Variogram Parameters panel. Basic items such as Lag distance, Number of lags, Tolerance, the data to be modeled, etc., can be inserted where appropriate in the General tab. By opening the drop-down list in the box labeled Type, the desired type of variogram to be built (Figure 3) can be selected. These variogram choices include Normal, Covariance, Pairwise Relative, Relative (local mean), and Correlogram. The item that will be controlling the variogram (TOTCU) is selected from the drop-down list (Figure 3).
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Basic information on variogram orientations is in the Directions tab (Figure 5).

Figure 3

The Filter tab (Figure 4) is where, for example, the different rock types that will control the variograms are specified. This window becomes active when the Use Application Filter box is checked. A complete set of variograms will be built using composites for each specific set of rock types, i.e., for each line in the filters box. If you are building 30 different variograms, i.e., 30 different directions, and you specify five different rock types, MSDA will build 150 variograms (30 for each rock type). Each filter (line) contains the rock type or types, a title suffix and a file suffix. When MSDA creates the variograms for a given filter, it selects composites of the specified rock type or types, appends the title suffix to the main chart title, and appends the file suffix to the variogram files.

Figure 5

Details on azimuths, dips, and bandwidths are specified in the Directions tab. In the example, the initial variogram has an initial azimuth of zero and a Window of 22.5 degrees. Variograms will be built at 45-degree azimuth increments in a total of four directions. Likewise, the initial dip is horizontal (0 degrees) and varies at 30-degree increments for a total of four steps. The search Window is +/- 15-degrees wide. The bandwidths are activated by putting a check mark on the corresponding box, then the appropriate bandwidth can be added. The horizontal bandwidth in this example is 60 feet; no vertical bandwidth was added in this example. There are options for coordinate rotation if they become necessary to be applied to the variograms. The Rotation type option includes several methods, some of the most common options being GSLIB and MEDS. The Title and labels tab, as its name implies, is where the description of the variograms is entered (Figure 6). Besides the title, labels for the X and Y axis plus a description of the variogram can be added here.
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Figure 4

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The four buttons at the bottom of each of the tabs in the Variogram Parameters panel have specific meanings and can be activated from any of the tabs. The Cancel button, obviously, cancels the operation and returns the user to the start of the Variogram operation without saving the entries made. The Done button does the same thing as the Cancel button, but saves the changes that were made to the contents of the panels. The Queue and Build Now buttons execute the run provided the Variogram file(s) root name has been specified (Figure 8) by the user (cu bhs in the example).

Figure 6

The last tab, Options (Figure 7), has three additional parameters that can be activated by placing a check mark on the corresponding boxes and entering the project-related values. Implementation of these options depend upon the needs of the project. Normal variograms can be transformed to log using the equation shown on the first option. The second option is used to bracket the values of the item for which the variogram is being generated. The types of variograms that can be normalized are Normal and Covariance only, and can be specified in the third option in the last panel. Finally, the boxes for Constant for relative estimator, Minimum distance to accept pairs, and Consider vertical if within must be filled appropriately.

Figure 8

The Build Now button executes the run immediately while the Queue option saves the run for eventual execution. Upon execution of the run, the variograms are built and their file names appear in the lower-left window of the main panel (Figure 9). Before proceeding it is recommended to review the file-names and make sure that all of the requested variograms plus two (at the bottom of the list) are present. These last two variograms are global variograms in all directions (e. g., cu bhs_global.var), and a global variogram (cu bhs_hrz_global.var) in the horizontal direction.

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Figure 7

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Figure 9

A variogram filename such as cu bhs_90_ 30.var consists of a root (cu bhs) chosen by the user, the azimuth (90), its dip (30) and the file extension var. This is the file naming convention used in MSDA. Clicking on the Open button after highlighting one of the variograms, will bring up a panel where additional information on the selected variogram, as well as access to its related information, is made available to the user (Figure 10). In the first tab (Chart) the Auto-Fit button was depressed to fit a model to the variogram (red line).

One can also build a best fit model by simply clicking on the Auto-Fit button. A number of options are available, such as tolerance, weight by number of points, and so on. Specific information pertaining to each data point can be readily accessed and viewed by placing the arrow of the mouse directly over any desired data point. This shows such basic items as the lag range, the value, number of pairs, average distance, drift, mean grade, and standard deviation for the point selected. The Global Stats tab (Figure 11) displays the basic statistics of the variogram. The panel is self-explanatory; however, it is important to note the number of samples in the data source vs. the number of actual valid samples used in the run. It also shows the exact boundaries of the volume of sampled material covered by the variogram.

Figure 11

Figure 10

The parametersfor the variogram model can be modified manually by dragging the markers on the curve, or by keying parameters into the dialog at the upper right corner. When you modify the model by dragging the markers, MSDA instantly updates the parameters in the dialog, and vice versa. MSDA supports models with up to three structures.

The Lag Stats tab shows a summary of the variogram (Figure 12). It is a summary that includes the range, number of pairs, distance, drift, etc., of the variogram. The corresponding mean of the pairs involved as well as its standard deviation are also shown.
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Figure 12

Detailed variogram modeling options can be started from the main panel with the command Tools | Variogram 3D Modeling. The available variograms will be displayed as in Figure 13. If there are no variograms, they have to be highlighted in the project directory (use Microsoft Windows Explorer), then dragged and dropped into the File area.

Figure 14

The variogram contours can now be viewed on any plane by selecting the Rose tab in the variogram panel. This shows the trends of the mineralization represented by the variograms on that plane. The properties of the points, contour lines, etc., can be modified and tailored to the users specifications.

Figure 13

Figure 15

Users can drag one or more variograms from their MSDA project into the 3D Modelers list at the lower right corner. To automatically fit a 3-D variogram model to this collection of variograms, select AutoFit from the 3D Model menu. As with the Auto-Fit tool for the individual variograms discussed earlier, several options are available such as tolerance, weight by number of points, and so on. However, the default values typically work well.

The variogram contours can also be individualized for report or presentation purposes. Figure 16 shows an example. A variety of other modifications, as well as printing or exporting to a bitmap, can be implemented using the icons in the Toolbar.
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Figure 16

The orientation of the various structures of the variogram model can also be displayed in plan and cross-sections (Figure 17). To access this option, use the command 3D Model | Display Structures on Planes. In this example, there is only one variogram structure. Therefore, there are no displays in the second and third structures. Also, because we generated only the horizontal variograms and set the verical range to a small distance, EW and NS section views are displaying flat ellipses with no dip.

Figure 17

There are many more helpful options that were not covered in this article about variography in MSDA. Additional descriptions of the tools related to variogram modeling, as well as to other MSDA options, will be published in future newsletters.

Call for Papers 23rd Annual Mintec, Inc. Seminar

Technical PapersYou are invited to submit an abstract of a proposed paper for presentation at the 23rd Annual Mintec Seminar, March 20-24, 2006 at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, Tucson, AZ. Consider any application of MineSight to a mining problem of general interest to the attendees. Presentations should be from 5 to 20 minutes in length. DeadlinesReceipt of Abstracts - January 16, 2006 Receipt of final presentation files - March 12, 2006 Please make note on your registration form that you are a presenter. Submit your abstracts, in Microsoft Word format, approximately 300 words, with the following information: Tilte, Subject, and Keyword Name(s), Tilte(s), Address(es), and Telephone Number(s) of all authors. Address questions /abstracts to: Fred Fest, Mintec, Inc. Telephone: 520.795.3891 Fax: 520.325.2568 E-mail:

Call for Photographs of Mines

We need photopraphs of your mine for our 2006 calendar. This is a great way to showcase the special features of your mine. Submit photographs of your mining operation to Robert Ashbaugh at High resolution, sharp focused digital files at 300 dpi are preferred. Sharp focused prints can be sent to Mintec, Inc., 3544 E. Ft. Lowell Rd., Tucson, AZ 85716 USA. Attn: R. Ashbaugh. Prints will not be returned.

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