Teach the Earth > Petrology > Geochemical Data Plotting Programs

Geochemical Plotting Programs

This site contains a compilation of geochemical plotting programs compiled by Sumit Chakraborty, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, with input from colleagues on the Mineralogical Society of America email list. This list is intended to facilitate representation of geochemical data to support teaching and research in the geosciences. Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsements of commercial or open source software. You will have to experiment with these programs and find the best fit for your own purposes. Paraphrasing the input from one colleague, "...I have yet to find a satisfactory choice of software that integrates ease of use, rigor, and layout quality that requires little if any manual work after generating the plot." Happy plotting!

General Geochemical Plotting Programs

  • IgPet – commercial software from RockWare; draws most types of petrologic diagrams, including Harker, Fenner, triangular and log plots. A calculator includes (+ - / *), Log, square, square root, ppm and chondrite functions. Special purpose diagrams, e.g. the Irvine and Baragar (1971) rock classification scheme, are stored in control files that can be expanded easily. CMAS projections include O'Hara, Walker, Grove, Baker and Eggler etc. Spider diagrams include REES, Wood, Thompson, Sun and McDonough etc.).
  • Excel–Microsoft spreadsheet program. Most "canned plots" or "stock diagrams" can be generated. Diagrams can be exported to most drawing programs, such as Corel, for "prettying up". Can do basic modeling such as melting, fractionation, AFC. Can be used with mineral data as well, but fewer built in diagrams. NOTE: If you have Excel spreadsheets set up to do geochemical plotting, please send the files to Dave Mogk (mail to: mogk AT montana.edu) for posting on this list.
  • Aabel – Commercial plotting program for Mac computers. Templates for various kinds of plots (ternary, spider diagrams etc.) available. If you select a point or cluster of points on a plot, it is highlighted in the spreadsheet. Many statistical packages are available. Compatible with Excel, which makes it easy to manipulate data and calculate things with formulas.
  • GCDKIT A freeware written in R. (a computer language for statistical computing and graphics). Details can be found in: Janoušek, V., Farrow, C. M. & Erban, V. 2006. Interpretation of whole-rock geochemical data in igneous geochemistry: introducing Geochemical Data Toolkit (GCDkit). Journal of Petrology 47(6):1255-1259. "Free, fast and good quality graphics. Informative website, and short learning time. Announced as a package for Igneous Petrology but can be generalized to plot any other kind of plots."
  • Petrograph – Free software that is user friendly. Similar to MINPET. Possible to plot many classification diagrams and "petro-tectonic" plots. Source code is written in MS Visual Basic 6.0 and it runs under Windows 98/2000/XP platforms. See: Petrelli M.*, Poli G., Perugini D. & Peccerillo A. (2005) Petrograph: a New Software to Visualize, Model, and Present Geochemical Data in Igneous Petrology, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., Vol. 6, Q07011, 26 July 2005
  • IGOR Pro 6 – Commercial software. From their web page: "Igor is an extraordinarily powerful and extensible scientific graphing, data analysis, image processing and programming software tool for scientists and engineers. Attributes: Macintosh and Windows Platforms, Journal-quality scientific graphs, 3D and volume visualization, Flexible image display, Handles large data sets very quickly, Extensive scientific and engineering data analysis,Curve fitting, peak fitting, Signal processing, Image processing and image analysis. A favorite of some geoscientists, but no details were given.
  • Sigmaplot – General scientific plotting program. You can create templates, and then it is a matter of simple cut and paste. Interfaces nicely with Excel.
  • Origin 8 – General scientific plotting program. Includes some features not easily done in Excel; e.g. (1) can label the points of a single x-y plot, (2) generate triangular plots and (3) various histograms. Also, (4) can save and re-use anytime later the preferred plot templates. Interfaces with Excel.
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Ternary and Tetrahedral Plotting programs

  • TernPlot (Excel 103kB Feb25 09) – An Excel spreadsheet for plotting ternary diagrams. Reference: Marshall, Daniel (1996), Ternplot: An Excel spreadsheet for Ternary diagrams, Computers and Geosciences, vol. 22 #6, p. 697-699. Submitted by Sarah K. Carmichael, Appalachian State University.
  • CSPACE – CSpace plots data in a tetrahedron (including stereo view). Cspace also performs mass-balance models, including, for example, mode -molar or oxyequivalent units- estimation from WR analyses, WR geochemical mass-balance, and model minerals reactions. See this example from John Winter. Citation: TORRES ROLDÁN R.L., GARCÍA CASCO A, GARCÍA SÁNCHEZ P.A. (2000) CSpace: An integrated workplace for the graphical and algebraic analysis of phase assemblages on 32-bit Wintel platforms. Computers and Geosciences 26, 779-793. doi:10.1016/S0098-3004(00)00006-6. Works on a PC.
  • Tetplot – tetrahedral plotting program by Frank Spear, RPI. Works only on Mac OS.
  • Analysen-Tetraeder – (in German), also works on a Mac.
  • Tetlab and Trinity – freeware applications (for Mac OS X Tiger or later ) that plot tetrahedral and ternary diagrams respectively. Both programs support drawing of tie-lines between data points and plotting outside of the diagrams (negative coordinate values). From Peter Appel, University of Kiel.
  • Tri-Plot – Tri-plot is a Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet for the preparation of triangular (ternary) diagrams for particle-shape and tri-variate data. Written by David Graham and Nicholas Midgley, now at the Dept. of Geography, Loughborough University. Citation: Graham DJ and Midgley NG. 2000, Graphical representation of particle shape using triangular diagrams: an Excel spreadsheet method. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 25(13): 1473-1477.
  • A template for ternary plots (Excel 45kB Nov17 09) using Excel from Yaoling Niu, Professor of Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University. Igneous AFM diagram is demonstrated, but the ternary components can be readily modified to accommodate any ternary components.
  • GGTERN–Ternary diagrams in R (an extension of GGPLOT2); submitted by Nicholas Hamilton, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Univesity of New South Wales, Sydney Australia; see a worked example from the ZrO2-SiO2-Al2O3 system.
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Spider Diagrams and other Specialized Plots

  • Spider Diagram (Excel 104kB Nov18 09)–an Excel plotting program submitted by Jim Mungall, University of Toronto; make the plots in Excel and then port into a drawing program for final presentation.
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Isotopic Data Plotting Programs

  • ISOPLOT. Free to use with permission of author. It runs on PC and Mac with OFFICE 2004 (not with 2008 Mac office version).

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Mineral Composition Plotting Program

  • The MinCalc-V5 Program (Acrobat (PDF) 340kB May4 10) from Heinz-Juergen Bernhardt. MINCALC-V5 combines a) storage and retrieval of analyses data, b) simple and versatile analyses selection, c) flexible output, d) formula recalculation, which may be programmed by the user, e) simple plotting of all measured and computed variables. The installation package can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.min.rub.de/pub/MINCALC-V5 . Please test this program and send feedback to the author!

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Please send information about any additional geochemical plotting programs to: Dave Mogk (mogk AT montana.edu). Copies of templates used in any of the above programs will be especially appreciated (we will post these directly on this site with attribution). You may also contribute teaching activities (problem sets, labs, etc.) that you have developed that use geochemical datasets. Individual contributions from many will help us develop a commonwealth of resources for all to use!

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