How the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain got its spectacular bend

In a paper published in Nature, Rakib Hassan with fellow EarthByters Dietmar Müller, Simon E. Williams & Nicolas Flament, and Caltech’s Michael Gurnis, proposed a solution to a long standing geological mystery – how the distinct bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain came to be. Using NCI’s Raijin supercomputer, the research team simulated flow patterns in the Earth’s mantle over the past 100 million years. The convection model suggests that the history of subduction has a profound effect on the time-dependent deformation of the edges of the Large Low-Shear Velocity Province (LLSVP) under the Pacific. The Hawaiian plume originates from the edge of this province and the southward migration of the plume during the formation of the Emperor chain reflects the migration of the northern edge of the LLSVP before ~47 million years ago. 

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Geologists Discover How Australia’s Highest Mountain Formed

Eastern_australia_topographyCongratulations to Prof Dietmar Müller, Dr Nicolas Flament, Dr Kara Matthews, Dr Simon Williams, and Prof Michael Gurnis on their paper recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Their paper, Formation of Australian continental margin highlands driven by plate-mantle interaction, has featured in a variety of Australian and international media outlets.

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GPlates Portal International Media Coverage

See the continents form and explore the Earth as never before  Read more:  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

gravity_grid_180my_agoThe recent article on the GPlates Portal published in PLOS ONE by Prof Dietmar Müller, Xiaodong Qin, Prof David Sandwell, Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz, Dr Simon Williams, Dr Nicolas Flament, Dr Stefan Maus, and Dr Maria Seton, has received significant international media attention over the past week, featuring in articles from Australia, UK, US, India, and UAE!

See the list of online media below, and check out the interactive globes yourself!

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Virtual Time Machine Of Earth’s Geology Now In The Cloud

Virtual time machine of Earth's geology now in the cloud

gravity_grid_180my_agoHow did Madagascar once slot next to India? Where was Australia a billion years ago?

Cloud-based virtual globes developed by a team led by University of Sydney geologists mean anyone with a smartphone, laptop or computer can now visualise, with unprecedented speed and ease of use, how the Earth evolved geologically. 

Reported today in PLOS ONE, the globes have been gradually made available since September 2014. Some show Earth as it is today while others allow reconstructions through ‘geological time’, harking back to the planet’s origins.  

Uniquely, the portal allows an interactive exploration of supercontinents. It shows the breakup and dispersal of Pangea over the last 200 million years. It also offers a visualisation of the supercontinent Rodinia, which existed 1.1 billion years ago. Rodinia gradually fragmented, with some continents colliding again more than 500 million years later to form Gondwanaland.   

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EarthByte/Scripps research features on NASA Earth Observatory

Triplejunction gis 2014 (Copyright NASA Earth Observatory)
Triplejunction gis 2014 (Copyright NASA Earth Observatory)
Credit: Joshua Stevens, NASA Earth Observatory

NASA Earth Observatory features a piece on the recent Mammerickx Microplate discovery. Their Image of the Day for 13 January 2016 is a satellite gravity map of the Indian Ocean, and the associated article, entitled ‘New Seafloor Map Helps Scientists Find New Features‘, discusses the power of satellite data for seafloor mapping and details the findings of the recent publication by Matthews et al. (2016).

History and current advances in reconstructing the Earth through deep geological time

Rodinia 1000 Ma

Rodinia 1000 MaTime machine: History and current advances in reconstructing the Earth through deep geological time – an article on Quartz by Steve LeVine. The article is a review of the development of ideas and technologies in reconstructing the Earth through deep time, aimed at understanding supercontinent assembly, breakup and dispersal, starting with Alfred Wegener. The article focusses on research activities in the context of the IGCP 648 project ‘Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics‘ led by Zheng-Xiang Li. The piece provides some historical context, and highlights the work of a number of leading scientists, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students currently involved in this work.  … Read more…

Mammerickx Microplate media coverage

Mammerickx Microplate zoom

Mammerickx Microplate zoomThe recent EPSL article on the discovery of the Mammerickx Microplate, by Dr Kara Matthews, Prof Dietmar Müller and Prof David Sandwell, has received lots of media attention from many different countries around the world including Australia, UK, USA, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Nepal and Honduras.

See below for a list of media items:

Online Media
The biggest continental collision in Earth’s history: Scientists pinpoint crashing together of continents that created the Himalayas 50 million years ago – Daily Mail
Scientists fix date for earth-shattering Himalayan birth pangs – The Sydney Morning Herald
Microplate discovery dates birth of Himalayas – EurekAlert!
Himalayas: Discovery of first ancient Indian Ocean microplate hints at new date of formation of mountain range – Yahoo! News  … Read more…

Opening speech, ARC Research Hub for Basin GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems

Dietmar Müller's BGH opening speech 19 August 2015

Dietmar Müller's BGH opening speech 19 August 2015Prof Dietmar Müller, Wed 19 August 2015

Good afternoon! On behalf of the University of Sydney and the School of Geosciences I welcome you to the opening of the ARC Research Hub for Basin GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems (in short Basin Genesis Hub).

Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet – the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built.

I would like to extend a special thank you to our industry partners, Statoil, Chevron, Oil Search, Intrepid Geophysics and 3D-GEO, many of whom are here today. We are especially pleased to have with us today Ms Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager of the ARC.  … Read more…

Ocean sediment map makes world news

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

Lithology globe Aus Ant viewThe recently-published ocean sediment map made by Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues has taken the world’s media by storm. It’s been reported online and in press, from Australia to Cuba, Hungary and many other countries! See the updated list of media items below, and check out the link to the interactive 3D globe with the ocean sediments map.

Countries where the story has been covered so far:

Australia, UK, USA, India, Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Cuba, Costa Rica and Peru.

Radio Interviews
ABC 774 Melbourne
World’s first digital seafloor map reveals ‘paradise’ – ABC Rural Radio
ABC 702 Sydney
BBC Radio 5 Live’s “Up All Night”
It took more than a year of research and sifting through thousands of samples to generate the world’s first digital map of the seafloor – ABC Country Radio (Interview at 41:10)  … Read more…

Big data reveals geology of world’s ocean floor

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

Lithology globe Aus Ant viewA team led by the University of Sydney School of Geosciences has created the first digital globe of seafloor sediments.

Ocean sediments cover 70% of our planet’s surface, forming the substrate for the largest ecosystem on Earth and its largest carbon reservoir – but the most recent map of seafloor geology was drawn by hand over 40 years ago, at the dawn of modern ocean exploration.

That’s about to change. In a gargantuan effort Adriana Dutkiewicz and her colleagues carefully analysed and categorised 15,000 seafloor sediment samples to reveal the nature of sedimentary blankets over ocean ridges, seamounts and the vast abyssal plains. She teamed up with big data experts to find the best way to use modern computer algorithms to turn the vast sea of point observations into a continuous digital map.  … Read more…

ScienceNews features an article on Pacific plate motions paper

EarthByte paper ‘Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend‘ is featured in ScienceNews with an article entitled ‘Plate loss gave chain of Pacific islands and seamounts a bend‘.

Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend

Research voyage on RV Investigator funded for 2016

RV InvestigatorDr Maria Seton and Dr Simon Williams from the School of Geosciences and colleagues from GNS Science and the Geological Survey of New Caledonia were awarded ship time on Australia’s new, state-of-the-art research vessel, the RV Investigator. The supplementary voyage, with Dr Seton as Chief Scientist, will investigate the continuity of Australian terranes into Zealandia through the Lord Howe Rise via targeted dredging of the Fairway Ridge. The voyage will also present an opportunity to travel back to “Sandy Island” where rock samples will be recovered in order to determine the age and origin of the ridge underlying this phantom island.

The Basin GENESIS Hub

Basin GENESIS Hub logo

Basin GENESIS Hub logoThe ARC Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems (Basin GENESIS Hub) is a showcase of connecting “Big Data” analysis and high-performance computing in an open innovation framework. The hub will fuse multidimensional data into 5D basin models (space and time, with uncertainty estimates) by coupling the evolution of mantle flow, crustal deformation, erosion and sedimentary processes using open-source modelling tools.

The project will develop quantitative, cutting edge data analysis techniques to underpin the testing of new concepts for understanding basin structures, and aid in driving sustainable use of basin resources. The development of new high-performance simulation and data mining tools, making use of new petascale computing capabilities, will connect big, multidimensional data sets to cutting edge machine learning and modelling algorithms to cross a wide spectrum of spatial and temporal scales. … Read more…

EarthByte Group makes the finals of the Eureka Prize

The EarthByte group is a finalist for the Eureka Prize from the Australian Museum, for its development of GPlates software! The prize is awarded annually for research innovation and GPlates was nominated for providing a "experimental virtual planet" to investigate geological systems through deep time. You can read more about the Eureka Prize here. Watch the finalist video featuring Prof Dietmar Müller.

EarthByte publicity for Oblique rifting of the Equatorial Atlantic paper

Summary FigureCongratulations to EarthByte’s Sascha Brune and Christian Heine (now at Shell in The Hague) who made it to the Sydney Uni front page with a media piece on “How the world missed out on a Saharan Atlantic ocean”, attracted international media attention and were chosen as a “Research Focus” in the current volume of Geology for their paper: Oblique rifting of the Equatorial Atlantic: Why there is no Saharan Atlantic Ocean. Well done! … Read more…

Opal exploration research recognised as outstanding highlight

Recent EarthByte research on opal exploration was recognised as an outstanding highlight and reflects the work of many of the group including, Andrew Merdith, Tom Landgrebe, Adriana Dutkiewicz and Patrice Rey. Congratulations to all of the contributors to the project and specifically to John Cannon and Michael Chin, the GPlates developers!

Simon William’s paper selected as a research highlight in EOS

The recently published paper by Simon Williams et al. 2013, on Early India-Australia spreading history revealed by newly detected Mesozoic magnetic anomalies in the Perth Abyssal Plain, was selected as one of three research highlights in the current edition of EOS. Well done!

Download EOS research highlights – pdf

Download the paper – pdf

Australian Journal of Earth Sciences – Opalisation of the Great Artesian Basin (central Australia): an Australian story with a Martian twist

Assoc Prof Patrice Rey generates global media coverage with his paper about the formation of opals in the SMH, The Australian, SkyNews, Australian Geographic, and many others.

Rey, P. F. (2013). Opalisation of the Great Artesian Basin (central Australia): an Australian story with a Martian twist. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences,60(3), 291-314.

Opalisation of the Great Artesian Basin (central Australia): an Australian story with a Martian twist

Download the paper from Taylor & Francis Online