Power laws and log-log plots I.

Did a bit of reading today on power law distributions, just to refresh my memories from three years ago when I was writing my thesis. And found some interesting papers and notes on the web, e.g., this one. I think we are still far from being able to use bed thickness distributions in a useful, predictive way, even though this has become a popular subject among turbidite experts. One of the problems is that it is easy to play with the distributions (e.g., take an initial power-law distribution and modify it by amalgamation), but things are probably a lot more complicated and cannot be explained just with amlagamation and basin topography. The other problem is that power-law distributions and their exponents cannot be assessed by fitting a straight line to an exceedence probability plot, as it is explained here. This method is bound to give erroneous estimates when dealing with a single distribution, but it is close to meaningless when people want to break out two different populations by fitting not one, but two lines to the exceedence probability plot.

Well, I guess that is enough about power laws for today.

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