EGU Blog: Meeting Plate Tectonics – Dietmar Müller

David Fernández-Blanco interviewed Dietmar Müller for the EGU Tectonics and Structural Geology Blog, as part of a series of interviews portraying scientists who have contributed to developing and applying plate tectonic theory over the last 50 years.  So far, this set of interviews includes Dan McKenzie, Xavier Le Pichon, Mathilde Cannat, Richard Gordon, Peter Molnar, David Bercovici, Roland … Read more…

How marine snow cools the planet

University of Sydney scientists have modelled how carbonate accumulation from ‘marine snow’ in oceans has absorbed carbon dioxide over millennia and been a key driver in keeping the planet cool for millions of years. Researchers in the School of Geosciences have mapped out how carbonate formations have helped regulate Earth’s temperature over 120 million years. … Read more…

Australian Academy of Science honours Dietmar Müller with the Jaeger Medal for lifelong achievement

Australian Academy of Science honours Dietmar Müller with the Jaeger Medal for lifelong achievement, which recognises research on the Earth or its oceans carried out in Australia or with a connection to Australian Earth science. Prof Dietmar Müller has been awarded the Jaeger medal of the Australian Academy of Science.  The award recognises his lifelong passion and innovations in building … Read more…

“How we traced the underwater volcanic ancestry of Lord Howe Island” published this week in The Conversation

Maria Seton, Simon Williams and Nick Mortimer (GNS Science) published an article in The Conversation on the underwater volcanic ancestry of Lord Howe Island based on their recently published paper in Geological Magazine.   “Lord Howe Island is a beautiful and incredibly isolated world heritage site some 600km off the coast of New South Wales, lauded for … Read more…

Geological Society of Australia’s Earth Science Student Symposium of New South Wales (GESSS-NSW)

Earlier this week, the Geological Society of Australia‘s Earth Science Student Symposium of New South Wales (GESSS-NSW) was held at the Abercrombie Business School, the University of Sydney! GESSS-NSW is an Earth sciences conference held by students, for students. For months, EarthByters were heavily involved in the organization conference, where Mandi Thran was Committee Chair, Rhi Garrett was Secretary, Maxim Adams served … Read more…

Dietmar Muller receives NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Physics

Five University of Sydney researchers have been recognised for their work by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.  Amongst them was Dietmar Muller who received the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Chemistry or Physics at an awards ceremony held at Government House. http://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au/premiersprizes/2018-category-winners This is a marvellous recognition of the fundamental role … Read more…

Prof. Dietmar Muller awarded the Excellence Professor Award from the German Petersen Foundation for 2019

Congratulations to Prof Dietmar Muller who has been awarded the Excellence Professor Award from the German Petersen Foundation for 2019. The award comes with €20,000 (about AU$32,000) and an invitation to spend 6-8 weeks at GEOMAR in Kiel to present a series of lectures, a short course, and to continue/launch collaborations in the field of marine geoscience. … Read more…

Kaj Hoernle awarded Gustav Steinmann Medal at annual meeting of the German Geological Society

Long-term EarthByte collaborator Kaj Hoernle has been awarded the Gustav Steinmann Medal at the recent annual meeting of the German Geological Society. The medal, which has been awarded since 1938, honours outstanding overall achievements in the geosciences. Kaj studied geology, petrology and geochemistry at Columbia University and at UC Santa Barbara. Since 1994 he has … Read more…

Dietmar Muller gives public Accelerated Computing for Innovation talk on “Understanding Earth System Evolution – connecting Deep to Surface Processes”

The Earth’s composition and location relative to the sun has resulted in a thermal, structural and geochemical evolution that is unique in the solar system, forming a resource-rich, oxygenated habitable planet. Human civilization is built on the premise of relatively stable climate and coastlines Yet the geological record reveals numerous episodes of enormous change, innovation, … Read more…

Does the sea level or the sun drive volcanic seafloor topography?

Modelling shows what causes abyssal hills 2.5km below sea level Computer modelling shows climate- and sea-level cycles are not responsible for the ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ at the bottom of the sea – a hypothesis that would have mapped a path to uncovering Earth’s climate history. Half a century after discovering how plate tectonics works, the … Read more…

The ARC Basin GENESIS Hub: connecting solid Earth evolution to sedimentary basins

The August edition of Preview by the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists features an article entitled “The ARC Basin GENESIS Hub: connecting solid Earth evolution to sedimentary basins”.  It highlights the work of Early Career Researchers in the ARC Basin Genesis Hub, including research fellows and PhD students. You can download and read the article here. … Read more…

How seafloor weathering drives the slow carbon cycle

A previously unknown connection between geological atmospheric carbon dioxide cycles and the fluctuating capacity of the ocean crust to store carbon dioxide has been uncovered by two geoscientists from the University of Sydney. Prof Dietmar Müller and Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz from the Sydney Informatics Hub and the School of Geosciences report their discovery in the … Read more…

Volcanoes, geysers and earthquakes! – 89.7 Eastside FM

A recent trip to Iceland piqued Sylvia’s curiosity about nearly every geological feature she saw. Back in Sydney, she explored those features – volcanoes, geysers, earthquakes, tectonic plates – with Dietmar Muller, Professor of Geophysics at the University of Sydney. That conversation went to air on Arts Wednesday 16 August 2017 and you can listen … Read more…

Fellows feature story in Crinkling News

Read the story of Dietmar in this week’s edition of Crinkling News, Australia’s only newspaper for kids. He located a photo of himself and his family when he was a kid to share his story of what inspired him to become a scientist. Crinkling News is posted out weekly to 800 Australian schools and has 30,000 young readers. They have … Read more…

The effect of continental stress on carbon storage sites

Mitigating global warming by CO2 storage? Check for the continental stressitis. If proposed CO2 sites are not properly assessed for long-term stability,  future civilisations could still suffer the consequences of global warming. Professor Dietmar Müller from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney and Scott Dyksterhuis from ExxonMobil have created a computer model … Read more…

Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent

ZealandiaA paper published in GSA Today, Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent, by Nick Mortimer and colleagues, including EarthByte’s Dr Maria Seton, has gone viral over the last few days. In the paper, researchers have for the first time clearly defined Zealandia, a continent that includes New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Lord Howe and Norfold Islands, that is today 94% submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. According to GSA Today’s editors, the article is “by a long shot” their most downloaded article ever. Picked up by hundreds of media outlets worldwide, the findings of the paper has reached an estimated 720 million readers!

You can download the paper here. … Read more…

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Taking the pulse of the global ocean

sediments_currents_global_oceanWhen organic particles sink from the surface ocean to the seafloor, a small but significant proportion of atmospheric carbon is stored away. Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues at the University of Sydney and Data61/CSIRO have now used global data sets collected over decades combined with cutting-edge big data analysis to understand how this process depends on surface ocean environments.   … Read more…

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Commotion in the deep Southern Ocean

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Bathymetry of the Southeast indian Ridge, where a major sediment accumulation rate anomaly has been linked to lateral changes in the vigour of bottom water flow.

A team led by the University of Sydney School of Geosciences has found an 8,000-km long sediment pile-up in the middle of the Southern Ocean, making this feature unique in the world. Their study was published today in the leading international journal Geology. … Read more…

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The pains and strains of a continental breakup in the media

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View of Australia’s western continental margin, looking eastwards from the Indian Ocean.

Congratulations to Dr Sascha Brune, Dr Simon Williams, Dr Nathan Butterworth, and Prof Dietmar Müller on their paper published in Nature earlier this week. The paper,  Abrupt plate accelerations shape rifted continental marginshas been picked up by the media across the globe.

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The pains and strains of a continental breakup

View of Australia’s western continental margin, looking eastwards from the Indian Ocean. Every now and then in Earth’s history, a pair of continents draws close enough to form one. There comes a time, however, when they must inevitably part ways. Now scientists at Australia’s EarthByte research group, in collaboration with the German Research Centre for … Read more…

Solving Earth’s giant jigsaw puzzle of tectonic plates

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Earth’s plate tesselation through time (150 Myr ago to present)

Plate tectonics drives earthquakes and volcanism, forms precious mineral deposits and controls the planet’s long-term carbon cycle.   But why do we have just a few large plates, and many tiny plates?  Does it matter? These questions have now been answered in a French-Swiss-Australian collaborative paper led by PhD student Claire Mallard at the Univ. Lyon, published on 15 June 2016 in the journal Nature. The paper includes Nicolas Coltice (Lyon), EarthByters Dietmar Müller and Maria Seton, and Paul Tackley (ETH). 

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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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Geologists Discover How Australia’s Highest Mountain Formed – Media Release

Eastern_australia_topographyGeologists from the University of Sydney and the California Institute of Technology have solved the mystery of how Australia’s highest mountain – Mount Kosciusko – and surrounding alps came to exist.

Most of the world’s mountain belts are the result of two continents colliding (including the Himalayas) or volcanism. The mountains of Australia’s Eastern highlands – stretching from north-eastern Queensland to western Victoria – are an exception. Until now no one knew how they formed.

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GPlates Portal International Media Coverage

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

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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GPlates in Spanish news

The link below points to an article written about EarthByte and GPlates by a Spanish journalist. The article is titled: “Viaje en una máquina del tiempo virtual a la Tierra de hace 1.000 millones de años: … which translates into: Travel in a virtual time machine to Earth 1,000 million years ago. http://m.eldiario.es/hojaderouter/ciencia/gplates-pangea-geologia-historia-Tierra-big_data_0_482951817.html Buenos dias todos … Read more…

EarthByte/Scripps research features on NASA Earth Observatory

Triplejunction gis 2014 (Copyright 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 … Read more…