About the GPlates Sample Data
packaged with a range of sample data sets that allow
users to quickly and easily get up-and-running with
plate tectonic reconstructions.
This page details the sources of these data, and
suggested citations. When using GPlates and the
sample data to make figures for publications, we
recommend citing the original data sources as
To download additional data sets ready for use
within GPlates, click here.
Features and Rotation File
The sample data includes the EarthByte rotation
file, which contains a compilation of reconstruction poles that
describe the motions of the continents and oceans.
These rotations are a synthesis of many previous
studies - each line in the rotation file lists the
original source of the corresponding pole of
rotation. Many of these original sources are
listed within the Seton et al (2012) paper listed
The feature data provided are compatible with this
rotation file. Basic feature data include present
day coastlines, spreading ridges, flowlines and continent-ocean
Static polygons allow plate IDs to be assigned to sets
of data and to 'cookie-cut' and reconstruct raster data. These
polygons, and the set of isochrons defining the
age of the ocean floor, are consistent with the
grid of seafloor age described here.
The continental polygons are a data set containing the
continental lithosphere only (consistent with the static polygons).
A topological network of plate polygons with
dynamic geometries are provided for the last 200
Ma. These data are provided in gpml format and
require GPlates to be effectively visualised.
Further information on this collection of data can
be found here.
M. Seton, R.D. Müller, S. Zahirovic, C. Gaina, T.H.
Torsvik, G. Shephard, A. Talsma, M. Gurnis, M.
Turner, S. Maus, M. Chandler, Global continental and
ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma,
Earth-Science Reviews, Volume 113, Issues 3–4, July
2012, Pages 212-270, ISSN 0012-8252,
A folder within the sample data named
'SeafloorFabric' contains a set of geometries that
define the tectonic fabric of the world's oceans.
The data are taken from a global community data
set of fracture zones (FZs), discordant zones,
propagating ridges, V-shaped structures and
extinct ridges, digitized from vertical gravity
gradient (VGG) maps. More information can be found
K.J. Matthews, R.D. Müller, P. Wessel & J.M.
Whittaker, 2011, The tectonic fabric of the ocean
basins, The Journal of Geophysical Research.
[Note: the resolution of the provided
rasters has been limited to reduce the file size
of the GPlates package. The original data sets are
available in higher resolutions.]
Ocean Floor Agegrid
The sample data includes a 6-minute resolution grid of the
age of the world's ocean crust is produced by the
Earthbyte group. More information, and a 2-minute
resolution grid of the same data, can be found here.
Also included are a time-dependent series of jpgs
showing the paleoage of the seafloor,
reconstructed at 1 Ma intervals. More information,
and links to download the data in the original
grid format, can be found here
Müller, R.D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C. and Roest, W.R.,
2008, Age spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of
the world's ocean crust, Geochemistry, Geophysics,
Geosystems, 9, Q04006, doi:10.1029/2007GC001743.
The color image of the ETOPO1 global relief model is available from
the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). More
information, and the original data in a variety of
grid formats, can be found here.
Amante, C. and B. W. Eakins, ETOPO1 1 Arc-Minute
Global Relief Model: Procedures, Data Sources and
Analysis. NOAA Technical Memorandum NESDIS NGDC-24, 19
pp, March 2009.
Global Free Air Gravity
The image of free air gravity is generated from the DNSC08
gravity field model produced by the Danish National
Space Centre (DNSC). More information, as well as
the original data sets in their full resolution, can
be found here.
Andersen, O. B., P. Knudsen and P. Berry (2010) The
DNSC08GRA global marine gravity field from double
retracked satellite altimetry, Journal of Geodesy,
Volume 84, Number 3, DOI: 10.1007/s00190-009-0355-9.
Andersen, O. B., The DTU10 Gravity field and Mean sea
surface (2010), Second international symposium of the
gravity field of the Earth (IGFS2), Fairbanks, Alaska.
The World Magnetic Anomaly Map (WDMAM) project
integrates all available near-surface and satellite
magnetic anomaly data into a single gridded data
set. More information, and the original data at full
resolution, can be found here.
Maus, S., U. Barckhausen, H. Berkenbosch, N. Bournas,
J. Brozena, V. Childers, F. Dostaler, J. D. Fairhead,
C. Finn, R. R. B. von Frese, C. Gaina, S. Golynsky, R.
Kucks, H. Luhr, P. Milligan, S. Mogren, D. Muller, O.
Olesen, M. Pilkington, R. Saltus, B. Schreckenberger,
E.Thebault, and F. Caratori Tontini, EMAG2: A
2-arc-minute resolution Earth Magnetic Anomaly Grid
compiled from satellite, airborne and marine magnetic
measurements, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.,
Dynamic Topography Files (0-70 Ma)
A sequence of time-dependent global raster images
(JPEG images, generated from GMT grid files of dynamic
topography). The dynamic topography comes from the
work of Bernhard Steinberger at NGU. The raster
images were created by Robin Watson at NGU.
Muller, R. D., Sdrolias, M., Gaina, C., Steinberger,
B. & Heine, C., 2008. Long-term sea level
fluctuations driven by ocean basin volume change,
Science, 319, 1357--1362, doi:10.1126/science.1151540.
Ritsema, J. & van Heijst, H.J., 2000. Seismic
imaging of structural heterogeneity in Earth's mantle:
Evidence for large-scale mantle flow, Sci. Progr., 83,
The paleomagnetism directory
contains sample palaeomagnetic data sets from the
IAGA Global Paleomagnetic Database. The data are provided in
GMAP VGP format, and GPML format. Both file formats
can be read by GPlates. More information about these
data can be found here.
Phanerozoic Reconstruction - Paleogeography and paleobiology
The contains a Phanerozoic plate motion model, digital coastline file, and continental outlines, ready for use with GPlates. This plate motion model is different from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic plate models by the EarthByte group, including models by Müller et al. (2008) and Seton et al. (2012). Instead, the Phanerozoic plate motion model accompanying this paper is based on the relative plate motions from Golonka (2007) and the updated absolute motions of Africa (using the GAD rotations) from Torsvik and Van Der Voo (2002). The complete Paleobiology Database (as of October 2011) is included in the supplementary material as tab delimited files, and the converted shapefiles are available for collections between 100 and 0 Ma. The Palaeogeographic Atlas of Australia is also provided in shapefile format, and has been converted into GTS2004. Additionally, the workflow and selected results from our data mining process is provided. here.
Wright, N., Zahirovic, S., Müller, R. D., and Seton, M. "Towards community-driven paleogeographic reconstructions: integrating open-access paleogeographic and paleobiology data with plate tectonics, Biogeosciences, 10, 1529-1541, doi:10.5194/bg-10-1529-2013, 2013.