R-mode hierarchical cluster and principal component analysis (PCA) were simultaneously applied to surface water hydrochemical data from three different locations, Ankwaso, Dominase and Prestea, along the Ankobra Basin, Ghana, to extract principal factors corresponding to the different sources of variation in the hydrochemistry, with the objective of defining the main controls on the hydrochemistry at the basin scale. Using the Kaiser criterion, principal components (PC) were extracted from the data and rotated using varimax normalization, for each location. The varimax rotation ensured that variation in the data was maximized for easy interpretation of the results. The analysis reduced 30, 33 and 33 data points, respectively, for Ankwaso, Dominase and Prestea to four, three and four PC representing the sources of variation in the hydrochemistry at the three different locations. Though the PC analysis proved to be more robust at unveiling the sources of variation in the hydrochemistry than the R-mode hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), the combined use of both techniques resulted in more reliable interpretations of the hydrochemistry. On the basis of these analyses, the hydrochemistry of the basin is controlled largely by the weathering of minerals (silicates, carbonates, gypsum and apatite) from the underlying meta-sediments of the Birimian and Tarkwaian Systems, and the decay of organic matter from the heavily forested regions. Concentrations of the major chemical parameters are within naturally acceptable limits and do not pose threats to the local ecology and humans. There is no strong evidence of high anthropogenic impacts on the major anions and cations used for this research, though there are variations at the different locations studied. The hydrochemistry at Ankwaso is principally controlled by the weathering of silicate minerals, whereas those of Dominase and Prestea are, respectively, influenced by precipitation and domestic wastewaters, and the decay of organic matter.
- Hierarchical cluster analysis
- Principal component analysis
- Varimax rotation