The EarthByte Group is one of the world's leading
research groups for global and regional plate tectonic
reconstructions and for studying the interplay between
the deep earth and surface processes. Research
is conducted in topics as diverse as basin evolution,
geodynamic controls on ore deposit formation,
continental deformation, formation of Australian opal,
causes of long-term sea-level change and Phanerozoic
plate tectonic reconstructions. The EarthByte
Group leads the development of open-source plate
reconstruction software, GPlates (www.gplates.org) and the
GPlates web portal (portal.gplates.org).
GPlates enables the interactive manipulation of
plate-tectonic reconstructions and the visualization
of geodata through geological time, and it facilitates
interoperability of plate tectonic data and models
with geodynamic computing services for applied and
fundamental research purposes.
Paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Clift, P., Brune, S. and Quinteros, J. 2015. Climate changes control offshore crustal structure at South China Sea continental margin (in press). Doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.032. Download paper and Supporting Information
Paper published in Ore Geology Reviews: Merdith, A. S., Landgrebe, T. C. W. and Müller, R.D. 2015. Propsectivity of Western Australian iron ore from geophysical data using a reject option classifier (in press). Doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2015.03.014. Download paper
Paper published in Geology: Wright, N., Müller, R.D., Seton, M. and Williams, S. E. 2015. Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend (in press). Doi: 10.1130/G36303.1. Download paper
Paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Reviews:Williams, S. E., Flament, N., Müller, R.D. and Butterworth, N. 2015. Absolute plate motions since 130 ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics.Download paper
Research Focus Publication: Rey, P. 2015. The geodynamics of mantle melting. Geology, 43, April 2015, pp.367-368, doi: 10.1130/focus042015.1. Access open access document here
Research voyage funded for 2016:
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. Read more here
Paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Zahirovic, S., Müller, R.D., Seton, M., and Flament, N. 2015. Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions, 418, 05/2015 pp.40-52, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.037. Link to paper
GPlates Version 1.5 has been released with new sample data and functionality! The key new features includes:
To download GPlates 1.5 follow this link
- 'Project Files' that allow users to save and restore sessions
- a new 'Kinematics Tool' that allows users to graph and export plate velocity data and,
- capacity to import and export GeoJSON feature collections.
New Sample Data have been added for GPlates 1.5 and this includes a Hotspot catalogue, Large Igneous Provinces, Flowlines, Continental Polygons and the updated Gravity and Vertical Gravity Gradient grids as raster files (Sandwell et al. 2014). See descriptions of all new data for GPlates 1.5 here.
An experimental release of GPlates 1.5+Hellinger was also released this week.
This version includes all GPlates 1.5 functionality as well as a Hellinger Tool to calculate best-fitting poles to segmented magnetic pick data points. The tool uses a Python implementation of the FORTRAN program by Chang and others and is compatible with FORTRAN data files which can be imported and exported into this GPlates version. Read about and go to the download link for the experimental release here.
Paper published in Geophysical Research Letters: Seton, M., Flament, N., Whittaker, J., Müller, R.D., Gurnis, M. and Bower, D. J. 2015. Ridge subduction sparked reorganisation of the Pacific plate-mantle system 60-50 million years ago (in press), 02/2015, doi: 10.1002/2015GL063057. Download paper
Paper published in Australian Journal of Earth Sciences: Heine, C., Yeo, L. G., Müller, R.D. 2015. Evaluating global paleoshoreline models for the Cretaceous and Cenozoic (in press), doi: 10.1080/08120099.2015.1018321. Download paper and Paleocoastlines files
Welcome to Wenchao Cao who has started a PhD with the EarthByte group this month! Wenchao completed both BSc and MSc in geology at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan and will be working with Dietmar, Nico and Sabin.
Paper published in Gondwana Research: Gibbons, A., Zahirovic, S., Müller, R.D., Whittaker, J. and Yatheesh, V. 2015. A tectonic model reconciling evidence for the collision between India, Eurasia and intra-oceanic arcs of the central-eastern Tethys (in press), doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2015.01.001. Download paper
Applications are invited for a PhD scholarship in Plate Tectonics/ Geodynamics/ Morphodynamics working with members of the Basin Genesis Hub (an ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub) within the EarthByte Group at the School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney. Scholarship details
Paper published in Tectonophysics: Roger, F., Teyssier, C., Respaut, J.-P., Rey, P., Jolivet, M., Whitney, D. L., Paquette, J-L. and Brunel, M. 2015. Timing of formation and exhumation of the Montagne Noire double dome, French Massif Central. Tectonophysics, Volume 640-641, pp.53-69, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2014.12.002. Download paper
Paper published in Gondwana Research: Dutkiewicz, A., Landgrebe, T. C. W., and Rey, P. F. 2015. Origin of silica and fingerprinting of Australian sedimentary opals. Download paper
Paper published in Australian Journal of Earth Sciences: Landgrebe, T.C.W. and Müller, R.D. 2015. Uncovering the relationship between subducting bathymetric ridges and volcanic chains with significant earthquakes using geophysical data mining (in press) Download paper
Insights from recent and ongoing research at EarthByte for the mining industry were highlighted in a recent edition of Australian Resources and Investment (Vol. 8, 4). The article can be downloaded here.
Congratulations to Sabin Zahirovic who has submitted his PhD Thesis today, entitled "Post-Pangea global plate kinematics and geodynamic implications for Southeast Asia". Well done Sabin!
EarthByte welcomes Qiuge Wang, a visiting PhD student from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan. Quige will be studying with us for the next 12 months at the University of Sydney investigating the evolution and thermal state of the lithosphere in west Pacific marginal basins.
Paper published in Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors: Bower, D. J., Gurnis, M. and Flament. N. 2015. Assimilating lithosphere and slab history in 4-D Earth models. Volume 238, 8-22, doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2014.10.013. Download paper
Paper published in Earth-Science Reviews: Matthews, K. J., Williams, S. E., Whittaker, J. M., Müller, R. D., Seton, M. and Clarke, G. L. 2015. Geological and kinematic constraints on Late Cretaceous to mid Eocene plate boundaries in the Southwest Pacific. Volume 140, 72-107, doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.10.008. Link to paper
A successful 2-day planning workshop for the Basin GENESIS Hub was held between EarthByte group members and major collaborators at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science in Chowder Bay in mid-November. Academics, industry partners, post-docs and both postgraduate and undergraduate students all met to present their recent research and to discuss the approaches that will be used and developed over the course of the project. The Hub is a recently-funded, 5 year project investigating GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems (GENESIS) and will commence very soon. Read more about the Basin Genesis Hub here.
Paper published in Geology: Koopman, H., Brune, S., Franke, D. and Breuer. 2014. Linking rift propagation barriers to excess magmatism at volcanic rifted margins. Geology, 15 Oct, doi: 10.1130/G36085. Download Paper
Professor Dietmar Müller and collaborators at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the European Space Agency and the USA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry have released an improved marine gravity model from CryoSat-2 and Jason-1 satellite data. Their paper has been published in Science and is receiving a lot of attention from international media!
Read more about the new marine gravity model here.
Paper published in Science: Sandwell, D. T., Müller, R. D., Smith, W. H. F., Garcia, E. and Francis, R. 2014. New global marine gravity model from Cryo-Sat-2 and Jason-1 reveals buried tectonic structure. Science, Vol. 346, 6205, pp. 65-67, doi: 10.1126/science.1258213. Download Paper.
In conjunction with this recent publication, EarthByte have launched a new cloud-based GPlates Web Portal that was used by almost 40 000 users over the last long-weekend! It took GPlates software over ten years to get that many users, so this is a huge achievement and also makes GPlates accessible to a broader audience! The GPlates portal can be used to explore the new global gravity map in 3D and to interactively reconstruct the gravity field from 200Ma to the present in a web browser (hint - use Chrome, not Safari). A big thank you to Michael Chin for leading development of the Portal and to Simon Williams, Sabin Zahirovic and Carmen Braz for their help in the lead up to launching the new portal!
Dr Nico Flament is the author of this month's Geology "Research Focus", discussing current and recent research in Dynamic Topography:
Flament, N. 2014. Linking plate tectonics and mantle flow to Earth's topography. Geology, v42, no. 10, pp.927-928, doi: 10.1130/focus102014.1 Download the Paper and Data Grid used.
EarthByte researchers Assoc. Professor Patrice Rey and Dr Nico Flament, together with collaborator Prof. Nicolas Coltice from the AUGURY project in France
have a new theory about the initiation of subduction, which suggests that spreading of early continental crust may have created gravitational instability which kick-started this plate-tectonic process. Watch an animation of the model results here!
Rey, P., Coltice, N. and Flament, N. 2014. Spreading continents kick-started plate tectonics. Nature, 513, 405-408, doi: 10.1038/nature13728. Link to the paper.
This study has received a lot of attention from international media; links to these media stories can be found here or view the Nature journal metrics
Paper published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: Brune, S. 2014. Evolution of stress and fault patterns in oblique rift systems: 3-D numerical lithospheric-scale experiments from rift to breakup, 15, 3392-3415, doi: 10.1002/2014GC005446. Read more or Download Paper and Supplementary Material.
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 and the finalist video is found here.
Paper published in Solid Earth: Butterworth, N., Müller, R.D., Quevedo, L., O'Connor, J.M., Hoernle, K. and Morra, G. 2014. Pacific Plate slab pull and intraplate deformation in the early Cenozoic. Solid Earth, doi: 10.5194/se-5-757-2014. Download Paper
Paper published in Gondwana Research: Müller, R. D., Yatheesh, V. and Shuhail, M. 2014. The teconic stress field of India since the Oligocene. Doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2014.05.008.
Paper published in Solid Earth: Cannon, J., Lau, E and Müller, R. D. 2014. Plate tectonic raster reconstruction in GPlates. Solid Earth, 5, 741-755, 2014, doi: 10.5194/sed-5-741-2014. Download Paper
Congratulations to Luke Mondy, who was awarded the George Harris Prize for outstanding achievement as a post-graduate student in 2013! Well done Luke!
Welcome back to Mike Tetley, who has commenced a PhD with EarthByte this week, under the supervision of Dietmar Müller, Simon Williams, Nico Flament and collaborator, Mike Gurnis at CalTech. Mike is recipient of a University of Sydney Merit Award from his Honour's degree study which focused on palaeomagnetics of the Palaeozoic Lachlan Orogen.
Congratulations to Assoc. Professor Patrice Rey and Professor Dietmar Müller, who have been awarded new research funding, of $5.4 million over five years from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and industry partners, for the Basin GENESIS Hub that will use computational modelling to understand the evolution of sedimentary basins. The project will harness big data sets and super-computer resources to model the interaction between earth's surface processes and deep Earth processes in 'five dimensions'.
The funding was announced by the Federal Minister for Education on Thursday 12 June and is funded through the Industry Transformation Research Hub program the main partners are the University of Melbourne Geodynamics group, Curtin University's Petroleum Group, CSIRO Earth Science and Resource Engineering, National ICT Australia (NICTA), Geoscience Australia, the California Institute of Technology, and five national and international industry partners. Well done to all who contributed to the proposal!!
Read more here
Paper published in Nature Communications: Brune, Sascha; Heine, Christian; Pérez-Gussinyé, Marta; and Sobolev, Stephan V. 2014. Rift migration explains continental margin assymetry and crustal hyper-extension. 5:4014, 1-9, doi: 10.1038/ncomms5014. Download Paper
Supplementary information can be downloaded here.
Paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: François, C., Philippot, P., Rey, P. and Rubatto, D. 2014. Burial and exhumation during Archean sagduction in the East Pilbara Granite-Greenstone Terrane. Volume 396, 235-251, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.04.025. Download Paper
Supplementary information is available from Science Direct or download the combined supplementary tables and figures.
Paper published in Solid Earth: Zahirovic, S., Seton, M. and Müller, R. D. 2014. The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia. Volume 5, 227-273. Doi:10.5194/se-5-227-2014. Download Paper Access Supplementary Material
GPlates Version 1.4 has been released! This latest update of GPlates brings added functionality for the export of both numerical floating point-data and colour reconstructed rasters, for a user specified region and resolution. There is also greater flexibility for raster file import, with ERMapper, Erdas Imagine and GeoTIFF files now supported and geo-referencing is retained from source files. A new 'Move Pole' canvas tool has been introduced that permits modification of reconstruction poles by dragging, or entering coordinates.
Other features added in 1.4:
- Velocity smoothing at plate boundaries
- Spreading asymmetry supported for mid-ocean ridges
- More accurate half-stage rotation at mid-ocean ridges
- Preview functionality for volume visualisation 3D scalar fields
Download GPlates 1.4 here
Updated tutorials to make the most of new features can be found on the GPlates pages.
Paper published in Tectonophysics: Barnett-Moore, N., Flament, N., Heine, C., Butterworth, N. and Müller, R. D. 2014. Cenozoic uplift of south Western Australia as constrained by river profiles. Doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2014.03.010. Download Paper
PhD student Andrew Merdith presented in the NSW state finals of FameLab, giving a 3 minute run down on his Opal research. Watch the video here.
The Big Data Knowledge Discovery Launch was featured in full-length article in the Newsletter of the Geological Society of Australia in March. Download here
Paper published in Geophysics: Bai, Yongliang, Williams, Simon E., Müller, R. Dietmar, and Hosseinpour, Maral. 2014. Mapping crustal thickness using gravity data: Methods and uncertainties. Vol 79, No. 2, doi: 10.1190/GEO2013-0270.Download Paper
Congratulations 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!
Their paper addresses the role of rift obliquity during the opening of the Equatorial Atlantic and the subsequent acceleration of South America.
Welcome back to Andrew Merdith who commenced study towards a PhD in February and will be investigating the early supercontinent Nuna.
Paper published in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: Seton, M., Whittaker, J., Wessel, P., Müller, R.D., DeMets, C., Merkouriev, S., Cande, S., Gaina, C., Eagles, G., Granot, R., Stock, J., Wright, N. and Williams, S. 2014. Community infrastructure and repository for marine magnetic identifications. doi: 10.1002/2013GC005176. Download Paper
Discussion paper published in Solid Earth: Butterworth, N., Müller, R.D., Quevedo, L., O'Connor, J.M., Hoernle, K. and Morra, G. 2014. Pacific Plate slab pull and intraplate deformation in the early Cenozoic. Solid Earth Discussion, doi: 10.5194/sed-6-1-2014. Download Paper
Discussion paper published in Geoscientific Model Development Discussions: Herold, N., Buzan, J. Seton, M., Goldner, A., Green, J. A. M., Müller, R.D., Markwick, P. and Huber, M. 2014. A suite of Early Eocene (~55 Ma) climate model boundary conditions.Download Paper
Congratulations to Maria Seton, who was awarded
the 2014 Dorothy Hill Award from the Australian Academy of Sciences, for her contributions to global plate tectonics, long- term sea-level change and global geodynamics and back-arc basin formation. Well done Maria!
Paper published in Scientific Drilling: S. J. Gallagher, N. Exon, M. Seton, M. Ikehara, C. J. Hollis, R. Arculus, S. D, Hondt, C. Foster, M. Gurnis, J. P. Kennett, R. McKay, A. Malakoff, J. Mori, K. Takai, and L.Wallace, 2014. Exploring new drilling prospects in the southwest Pacific, 2, 1/6, doi:10.5194/sd-2-1-2014.Download Paper
Paper published in Geology: Heine, C., and Brune, S. 2014. Oblique rifting of the Equatorial Atlantic: Why there is no Saharan Atlantic Ocean. Geology, doi:10.1130/G35082.1 107-199.Download Paper Access Supporting Data (ref. 2014073)
Paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Williams, S., Seton, M., Skogseid, J., Heine, C., and Müller, R.D. 2014. Topographic assymetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching. EPSL, 387, 107-199.Download Paper Link to paper at Science Direct
Paper published in the Journal of Geodynamics: Butterworth, N., Talsma, A., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., Bunge, H.-P., Schuberth, B.S.A., Shephard, G. E. and Heine, C. 2014. Geological, tomographic, kinematic and geodynamic constraints on the dynamics of sinking slabs. JGeodyn, 73, p.1-13.
Paper Supplementary Material
Paper published in Solid Earth: Hosseinpour, M., Müller, R. D., Williams, S. E. and Whittaker, J. M. 2013. Full-fit reconstruction of the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay. Solid Earth, DOI:10.5194/se-4-461-2013.
Maria Seton was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship on - Oceanic gateways: a primary control on global climate change?
Patrice Rey was interviewed for a Sydney Morning Herald MyCareer feature, as a 'Man of Mars and Opals'! Download here
EarthByte-developed GPlates software, represented by Dietmar Müller, has been has been nominated for The Australian Innovation Challenge 2013 and it has become a finalist in the minerals and energy category! Read the article published in The Australian.
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!
EarthByte would like to welcome Professor Sanzhong Li who is visiting for
2 months from the Ocean University of China. We also welcome Shan Yu, a PhD student at the Ocean University of China who will study
at EarthByte for 1 year developing plate reconstructions of the Paleo-Tethys in central China.
Paper published in
Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Coltice, N., Seton, M., Rolf, T., Müller, R.D. and Tackley, P.J. 2013.
Convergence of tectonic reconstructions and mantle convection models for significant
fluctuations in seafloor spreading. EPSL, 383, pp.92-100.
GPlates News, a new email update on recently added GPlates functionality,
new tutorials, and GPlates related research and downloadable datasets has been launched. The newsletter will be accessible from this site, or you can subscribe here to receive the email News every quarter.
The Big Data project and Earthbyte data-mining research was publicised in the "Data mining for gold" story on the Australia unlimited website. The project is now part of "Brand Australia".
Paper published online in Tectonics:
Maloney, K. T., Clarke, G. L, Klepeis, K. A. and Quevado, L.,
2013, The Late Jurassic to present evolution of the
Andean margin: Drivers and the geological record. Download paper
Dr Nico Flament provides an
expert opinion for the recent Rowley et al. 2013
study of USA continental margins and the influence
of dynamic topography.
Maria Seton et al.'s 2012
paper "Global continental and ocean basin
reconstructions since 200 Ma", was number 16 in the
top 25 geology articles downloaded from Elsevier in
the first half of 2013. Congratulations!
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! EOS
research highlights Download
to Nathaniel Butterworth and Kara Matthews who
submitted their PhD theses on 30th August! Both Kara and Nathan will be continuing to work
at EarthByte in post-doctoral positions.
'Big Knowledge Discovery Project' is on the front
cover of the current issue of the Australian Journal
Jo Whittaker was awarded the L'Oréal
Fellowship for Women in Science for research on 'How India
and Australia Broke up over the last 100 million
years'. Congratulations Jo!
to Grace Shephard who submitted her PhD thesis this
month! Well done! Grace will be taking up a
post-doctoral position in Norway at the University
Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED) and will
continue to work on plate motion modelling and
numerical simulations of mantle flow.
Paper published in
Solid Earth: Journal of the European Geosciences
Union: Heine, C., Zoethout, J. and Müller, R.D. 2013. Kinematics of
the South Atlantic Rift. Solid Earth, 4, 215-253,
published in Geology: Müller, R.D.,
Dutkiewicz, A., Seton, M. and Gaina, C. 2013.
Seawater chemistry driven by supercontinent
assembly, breakup, and dispersal. Geology. doi:
10.1130/G34405.1. Download Paper
published in Journal of Geophysical Research:
Solid Earth: Williams, S.E., Whittaker, J.M., Granot,
R. and Müller, R.D. 2013. Early India-Australia
spreading history revealed by newly detected
Mesozoic magnetic anomalies in the Perth Abyssal
Plain. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth,
Volume 118 p. 1-10. doi:10.1002/jgrb.50239. Download Paper
Paper published in Earth Science
Reviews: Shephard, G., Müller, R. D., and
Seton, M. 2013. The tectonic evolution of the
Arctic since Pangaea breakup: Integrating
constraints from surface geology and
geophysics with mantle structure. Earth
Science Reviews, 124, p.148-183,
Launch of the $12million, 3-year collaboration
between NICTA (Australia's Information and
Communications Technology Centre of Excellence), The
University of Sydney, SIRCA, and Macquarie
University. This is a ground-breaking project that
will use big-data and machine learning to deliver
new insights to the natural sciences - the
geoscience thread is being led by Professor Dietmar
generates global media coverage with his paper about
the formation of opals in the SMH, The Australian,
Geographic, and many
others. Paper: Rey, P. (2013) Opalisation of the Great
Artesian Basin (central Australia): an Australian
story with a Martian twist, Australian
Journal of Earth Sciences, 60(3), p291-314.
in Computational Mechanics: Quevedo, L., Hansra, B.,
Morra, G., Butterworth, N. and Müller, R.D., 2013,
Oblique Mid Ocean Ridge Subduction Modelling with
the Parallel Fast Multipole Boundary Element Method,
Computational Mechanics, 51, 455–463, DOI
GPlates 1.3 Released!!! A major release with new
functionality including volume visualisation of 3D
scalar fields, data-mining functionality, surface
relief lighting and many other enhancements.
in Earth and Planetary Science Letters: Morra, G.,
Seton, M., Quevedo, L., Müller, R.D. (2013)
Organisation of the tectonic plates in the last 200
Myr, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 373,
in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: Whittaker
J.M, Goncharov, A., Williams S.E., Müller R.D.,
Leitchenkov G. (2013) Global sediment thickness
dataset updated for the Australian-Antarctic
Southern Ocean, Geochem. Geophy. Geosyst.,
Paper published in Eos: Seton, M., Williams, S.E.,
Zahirovic, S., Micklethwaite, M. (2013) Obituary:
Sandy Island (1876-2012), Eos, Transactions,
American Geophysical Union, 94 (15), p141-148.
in the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences:
Merdith, A., Landgrebe, T., Dutkiewicz, A. and
Müller, R.D., 2013, Towards a predictive model for
opal exploration using a data mining approach,
Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 60, 217-229.
to Simon Williams and co-PIs, awarded 5-weeks of
ship time on Australia's new Marine National
Facility the vessel RV Investigator in
Oct-Nov, 2014. This expedition will return to the
western edge of the survey the Gulden Draak Knoll, a
micro-continent at the western edge of the Perth
Abyssal Plain. The aim is to collect magnetic,
gravity, swath, seismic reflection, seismic
refraction, dredge and sediment data to understand
the evolution of this major bathymetric feature.
Jo Whittaker awarded the 2012 Edgeworth David Medal
by the Royal Society of NSW. Congratulations.
Paper published in Biogeosciences:
Wright, N., Zahirovic, S., Müller, R.D. and Seton,
M., 2013, 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.
in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: Whittaker
J.M., Williams S.E., Müller R.D. (2013) Revised
tectonic evolution of the Eastern Indian Ocean,
Geochem. Geophy. Geosyst., doi:10.1002/ggge.20120
Invited review paper published in Lithosphere:
Flament, N., Gurnis, M. and Müller, R.D., 2013, A
review of observations and models of dynamic
topography, Lithosphere, 5, 189-210, doi:
in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: Bower,
J.B., Gurnis, M., Seton, M., 2013, Lower Mantle
Structure from paleogeographically constrained
dynamic Earth models, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst.,
14, 44-63, doi:10.1029/2012GC004267Download
in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Gibbons,
A.D., Whittaker, J.M., Müller, R.D. (2013), The
breakup of East Gondwana: assimilating constraints
from Cretaceous ocean basins around India into a
best-fit tectonic model, Journal of
Geophysical Research, 118, 1–15,
Paper published in Computers
& Geoscience: Landgrebe, T.C.W., Merdith, A.,
Dutkiewicz, A. and Müller, R.D, 2013, Relationships
between palaeo-geography and opal occurrence in
Australia: a data-mining approach, Computers and
Geosciences, 56, 76-82.
in Geophysical Journal International: Masterton, S.,
Gubbins., D., Müller, R.D. and Hemant, K., 2012,
Forward modelling of oceanic lithospheric
magnetisation, Geophysical Journal International,
doi: 10.1093/gji/ggs063. Download paper
Paper published in Earth
Planet Science Letters: Matthews, K.J., Seton, M.,
Müller, R.D., 2012. A global-scale plate
reorganization event at 105-100 Ma. Earth Planet.
Sci. Lett. 355–356, 283-298. Download
Jo Whittaker explains the
Indo-Australian plate breakup to The
Southern Surveyor cruise
takes the media by storm!
Maria Seton and her team are back from the Southern
Surveyor cruise in the Coral Sea, which was
investigating the tectonic framework for the
easternmost Coral Sea and northern extent of the
Lord Howe hotspot for 25 days. The cruise has been
featured on Radio
Australia, which was then
picked up by ABC
Morning Herald and BBC.
Michael Chin wins
NeCTAR/ANDS #nadojo competition for GPlates
Congratulations to Michael Chin
from the Earthbyte group on winning this year's
NeCTAR/ANDS #nadojo competition. Michael demonstrated
a new web-enabled GPlates prototype on the NECTAR/ANDS
eResearch computing infrastructure, porting some of
the powerful plate reconstruction capabilities to the
web. The new GPlates competed with several other
candidates from universities and research institutes
in Australia, and winning on the basis of the novelty
and future potential. A judge was quoted as saying:
"...being able to look at tectonic plates and how they
move over 140Ma years ago brought me back to that
child-like awe of wonder and amazement, like the first
time you look up at the stars and realise how many
(light?) years away they are..." Well done Michael!
The web-enabled GPlates demonstrator can be
experimented with online at here
D. Müller, L. Quevedo and T.
Landgrebe from EarthByte have been successful in
applying for resources on the new iVEC supercomputer
"Fornax" located at UWA through a merit allocation
project built around GPlates new data mining
capabilities. GPlates performance as a data-intensive
application and its potential for generating a high
impact research outcome by taking advantage of
multicore GPU architectures have been key to this
grant. The proposal explores the distribution of
GPlates' in-built graphics acceleration across
multiple computing nodes equipped with
high-performance GPUs, to allow for real-time
reconstruction as well as large-scale data-mining and
statistical analyses of high-resolution raster data.
The application of these tools to geodata synthesis
through space and time, and the assimilation of
disparate geological and geophysical data into a
large-scale four-dimensional Earth models have
enormous relevance in the study of important
relationships through time pertaining to mineral
deposits and energy systems. Fornax (Latin for
'furnace') is the latest addition to the Pawsey Centre
Project infrastructure funded by the Australian
Government, as part of an $80 million Super Science
initiative aimed at providing new supercomputing
facilities and expertise to support SKA (Square
Kilometre Array) research and other high-end science.
The system procured from SGI comprises 96 nodes, each
containing two 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 CPUs, an NVIDIA
Tesla C2075 GPU and 72 GB RAM, resulting in a system
containing 1152 cores and 96 GPUs.
The UNCOVER Searching the Deep Earth: A vision for
exploration geoscience in Australia document was
officially launched by the Minister for Resources,
Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson, at the 34th
International Geological Congress in Brisbane last
week. This important policy document is a call for
Australian earth scientists to cooperate in an
innovative, structured and nationally coordinated
strategic venture that will bring competitive
advantage to Australian mineral exploration. The
vision requires research groups, surveys and explorers
to participate in a cross-institutional joint research
venture on a scale never before attempted. Dietmar
Muller from the earthByte group is a member of the
UNCOVER implementation committee. Seehttp://www.science.org.au/policy/uncover.html/
for more information.
EarthByte would like to welcome Ashish Agarwal who has
just started an AISRF funded PhD with Dietmar Muller
on Indian ocean plate reconstructions.
EarthByte would like to welcome Judith Sippel (GFZ
Postdam), Kenni Petersen (Aarhus University), Nicolas
Coltice (University Lyon 1), Nick Mortimer (GNS),
Bruce Eglington (University of Saskatchewan) who will
be visiting the EarthByte group in the weeks after the
IGC meeting in Brisbane.
Maria Seton, Dietmar Muller, Jo Whittaker and Jonathan
Aitchinson attended the first Back-arc Basin and
Island Arc Interridge working group meeting in
Over 15 members of EarthByte attended the
International Geological Congress meeting in Brisbane
and were heavily involved in the organisation of
symposia and sessions.
EarthByte would like to
welcome Paul Wessel from the University of Hawaii who
is visiting for several weeks to work on a project on
African absolute plate motions.
Paper published in Earth-Science Reviews: 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, 10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.03.002. Download
Paper June 2012
EarthByte would like to
welcome Sarah Maher from the University of Hawaii who
will be working with Dietmar Muller and Maria Seton on
African absolute plate motions. May 2012
6 May 2012
Paper published in EPSL:
Chandler, M., Wessel, P., Seton, M., Taylor, B.,
Hyeong, K., Kim, S., 2012, Reconstructing Ontong Java
Nui: Implications for Pacific absolute plate motion,
hotspot drift and true polar wander, EPSL, 331,
A joint University of Sydney-National Taiwan
University will be held at the University of Sydney
between 7-8 June, 2012. The workshop will focus on
plate reconstructions of SE Asia, Tethys and western
North Pacific, mapping and reconstructing slabs, and
ideas and applications for GPlates.
EarthByte is pleased to welcome Laura Alisic from
Caltech for a short research visit. Laura will be
working primarily with Kara Matthews on plate
Kara Matthews joins the Einstein A Go Go RRR Fm radio
program to discuss plate tectonics 100,000,000 years
Paper published in
G-Cubed: Zahirovic, S., Müller, R. D., Seton, M.,
Flament, N., Gurnis, M. and Whittaker, J., 2012,
Insights on the kinematics of the India-Eurasia
collision from global geodynamic models, G3, VOL.
13, Q04W11, 25 PP., 2012 doi:10.1029/2011GC003883
Congratulations to Ana Gibbons for submitting her
PhD thesis. Well done Ana!
Dietmar Muller, Nicolas Flament, Christian Heine,
Logan Yeo and Maria Seton will be attending the EGU
meeting in Vienna
Congratulations to Grace
Shephard for being selected to participate in the
62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, which is
dedicated to Physics this year. Only the 550 most
qualified Young Researchers can be given the
opportunity to enrich and share the unique
atmosphere of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings. Congratulations Grace!
For more information, please visit their website.
Paper published in Paleocenography: Herold, N.,
Huber, M., Müller, R.D and Seton, M., 2012,
Modelling the Miocene climatic optimum, Part 2:
ocean circulation, Paleoceanography,
EarthByte is pleased to welcome Sascha Brune from
GFZ Potsdam for a 2 week research visit
Congratulations to Kara
Matthews who has been awarded the prestigious Chris
Powell Medal of the Geological Society of Australia
at a meeting of the Specialist Group in Tectonics
& Structural Geology in Waratah Bay, Victoria.
Well done! Download
A new Interridge working group on "Drivers of the
Episodic life-cycle of Intra-oceanic Arc-Backarc
Hydrothermal Systems" chaired by Maria Seton has
been approved by Interridge. Other EarthByte
members involved in the working group are Dietmar
Muller, Jo Whitakker and Joanathan Aitchison.
Further details about Interridge activities can be
found at http://www.interridge.org
An IODP workshop on the SW
Pacific to be hosted ay the University of Sydney has
been approved. The workshop, led by Neville
Exon, Stephen Gallagher and Maria Seton will see ~70
scientists from around the world come to USyd for a
4 day workshop in October, 2012.
Paper published in Computers
and Geosciences: Gurnis, M., Turner, M., Zahirovic,
S., DiCaprio, L., Spasojevich, S., Müller, R.D.,
Boyden, J., ., M., Manea, V.C., Bower, D. and
Zahirovich, S., 2012, Plate Reconstructions with
Continuously Closing Plates, Computers and
Geosciences, 38, 35-42,
Maria Seton is attending the Third Decadal Plan
Interridge meeting in San Francisco
EarthByte group members
Dietmar Müller, Adriana Dutkiewicz, Nicolas Flament,
Leonardo Quevedo, Maria Seton, Simon Williams,
Nathaniel Butterworth, Kayla Maloney and Kara
Matthews are attending the AGU Fall Meeting 2011 in
San Francisco, USA from 5-9 December, 2011. Click here for details
Paper published in the
Nature Geoscience: K. Hoernle, F. Hauff, R. van den
Bogaard, A. D. Gibbons, S. Conrad and R. D. Müller,
2011, Origin of Indian Ocean Seamount Province by
shallow recycling of continental lithosphere, Nature
Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo1331 Download
Ana Gibbons, Dietmar Müller
and colleagues from IfM-GEOMAR Leibniz Institute of
Marine Sciences, Germany research into Indian Ocean
Cocktail Party leaves trail of party hats behind has
been highlighted on the USyd News Download
Kara Matthew's microplates project is featured and
the GPlates software itself is also highlighted in
the 'Stories of
Australian Science' publication for 2011. Download
Congratulations to Nicolas
Flament and Patrice Rey for their interesting
Geology paper on subaqueous continental flood
Congratulations to the
EarthByte group who has been successful in two
multi-Chief Investigator Linkage Infrastructure,
Equipment and Facilities grant submissions. Well
EarthByte research into the
tilting of the Australian continent toward the
northeast over the past 50 million years has been
featured in the ‘Nature Geoscience’ research
highlights section. Download
Congratulations to Maria Seton and her team who have
been successful in a bid for ~$1M in ship time on
the Southern Surveyor, the Australian Marine
National Facility. Maria and her team will
investigate the ‘Tectonic framework for the
easternmost Coral Sea and northern extent of the
Lord Howe hotspot’ during a ~3-week long cruise in
October/November 2012. Well done!
Paper published in Lithosphere: DiCaprio, L. Gurnis, M., Müller,
R.D., and Tan, E., 2011, Mantle dynamics of
continent-wide Cenzoic subsidence and tilting of
Australia, Lithosphere, doi: 10.1130/L140.1.
The EarthByte Group would like
to welcome PhD student Florian Wobbe who is visiting
our research group for 2 months from AWI
Bremerhaven, Germany working on circum-Antarctic
EarthByte group members
Dietmar Müller, Christian Heine, Nicolas Flament,
Aedon Talsma, Logan Yeo and Grace Shephard are
attending the GSA Fragile Earth conference in
Munich, Germany from 4-7 September, 2011. Click here
EarthByte PhD students Aedon
Talsma, Logan Yeo and Grace Shephard are attending
the Geological Society's Dynamic Topography
conference in London.
Congratulations to Luke Mondy
who finished his Honours Thesis! Well done!
Leonardo Quevedo is attending
the 12th International Workshop on Modeling of
Mantle Convection and Lithospheric Dynamics in
Germany from 20-25 August. Click here
The EarthByte group welcomes
research student Fabian Stenzel from the Technical
University Munich (Germany) who was awarded a
competitive "RISE worldwide" scholarship (Research
assistantships in Science and Engineering) from the
German Academic Exchange Service DAAD. Fabian will
be staying with the group for about 3 months and
work together with Christian on assimilating global
datasets for deforming plate models and geodynamic
modelling. The RISE scholarship is an initiative of
the German government-funded DAAD to facilitate
international academic exchange and promote research
careers with undergraduate students in Germany. It
covers travel cost, insurance and pays a salary for
the successful students.
Congratulations to the
geodynamic modelling team for their successful
application for computing resources from the Pawsy
Centre (iVEC) at Perth as well as a successful
follow-up NCI resource allocation.
PhD student Kara Matthews is
on a 3 week research visit to Caltech to work with
Prof. Mike Gurnis and his group on a project related
to the 100 Ma plate reorganisation
EarthByte is pleased to
welcome Matthew Huber from Purdue University for a
half day visit during his super-short stay in
Simon Williams, Christian
Heine, Leonardo Quevedo and Dietmar Müller were
successful in a University of Sydney STEPs teaching
enhancement program funding starting next year which
will go towards the development of field-based
geophysical data acquisition practicals for 3rd year
PhD student Sabin Zahirovic is
attending the International Congress on the Permian
and Carboniferous in Perth
A News and Views piece by
Dietmar Müller titled "Plate motion and mantle
plumes" has been published in Nature.
EarthByte warmly welcomes new
PhD student Maral Hoseinpour who has started her PhD
on plate deformation models of passive margins.
Great news! Jo Whittaker has
given birth to a healthy baby boy. Daniel Walker was
born on Sunday, 17th July. Congratulations Jo and
Congratulations to PhD student
Logan Yeo and honours student Allison Thomas who
have both been awarded a PESA Tertiary Study Grant.
GPlates has been accepted by
Softpedia which is a popular library of over 400,000
free and free-to-try software programs and is one of
the top 500 websites (according to Alexa traffic
rankings). Since GPlates' acceptance yesterday (30th
June) it has already been downloaded over 1,000
times according to Softpedia. This is significant
considering that the total number of downloads from
Sourceforge, the main distribution site for GPlates
over its lifetime, exceeds 10,000. GPlates was
tested by Softpedia and granted the 100% FREE
EarthByte is pleased to have
Jerome Dyment and Roi Granot from IPG Paris visiting
our research group as part of the Indian Ocean
EarthByte is pleased to have
Prof. Tony Watts from Oxford University visiting our
research group and presenting a seminar on "Plate
Flexure and Dynamic Topography".
Great news! The Pyrites of the
Caribbean won the Sydney Uni Social Lunchtime mixed
soccer comp!!! The semi-final was 6-5 with Pyrites
beating the undefeated team "The Pretenders", and
the final game score was 1-1 and went to golden
goal. Nathan scored the winning goal with one minute
to spare! Woo! Well done to EarthByters Nathan
Butterworth, Leonardo Quevedo, Grace Shephard, Megan
Holt and Kayla Maloney.
Congratulations to PhD
students Sabin Zahirovic and Aedon Talsma who both
received the University of Sydney, Faculty of
Science Award for Citizenship for their contribution
to extra-curricular activities at the university.
Congratulations to PhD student
Kayla Maloney who has been awarded a University of
Sydney Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding
Academic Achievement, based on her paper "Crustal
growth during back-arc closure: Cretaceous
exhumation history of Cordillera Darwin, southern
Patagonia" in J. Metamorphic Petrology (Maloney et
al., 2011). Well done Kayla!
EarthByte's Dietmar Müller,
Joanne Whittaker and Ana Gibbons along with Gordon
Lister and Lloyd White of the Research School of
Earth Sciences at ANU, Canberra, have won funding
for their project "Towards a unified East
Gondwanaland reconstruction and its implications for
Himalayan Orogeny" from the Australia-India
Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). This project will
involve a close collaboration with Yatheesh
Vadakkeyakath, K.A. Kamesh Raju, G.C. Bhattacharya
and S. Kiranmai of the National Institute of
Oceanography in Goa, India. The project follows on
from a successful French-Australian collaboration
that unraveled a new high-resolution plate model of
the Australia-Antarctica-India plate boundaries,
while similar information was obtained for the
India-Antarctica-Africa plate boundaries under two
recently concluded Indo-French collaborations. These
two results will now be synthesized into a unified
model of high-resolution plate reconstructions for
the East Gondwanaland fragments. These synthesized
results will allow testing different continental fit
reconstruction models by using a variety of
reconstructed data sets and different plate circuits
while accommodating various known microcontinents/
continental fragments. The revised reconstruction
models are expected to provide tighter constraints
for India-Eurasia collision and Himalayan Orogeny.
It is hoped the studies will be extended to
understand the genesis of some of the major tectonic
features of the region.
Post-docs Nicolas Flament,
Christian Heine, Jo Whittaker and Simon Williams,
along with students Ana Gibbons, Charmaine Thomas
and Luke Mondy presented their research at the EGU
General Assembly in Vienna, which this year
attracted 10,725 scientists geoscientists. Christian
Heine and Ana Gibbons co-chaired the session
"Unresolved problems in plate tectonics: kinematic
reconstructions, plate driving forces, and plate
boundary interactions, and Nicolas Flament
co-chaired the session "Early Earth: from deep
dynamics to surface life"
Click for more info on the EGU General
Patrice attended an Auscope
meeting to present the view of Structural Geologists
and Tectonicists on Underworld.
An Integrated Ocean Drilling
(IODP) workshop on Indian Ocean Drilling to be held
in late 2011 in Goa, India has just been approved,
funded by $33,000 from IODP, and supported by the
Australian IODP Office, which plans to send 15
Australians and Kiwis to the meeting, including
EarthByte's Dietmar Müller, and Stephen Gallagher
(UMelb), Neville Exon (ANU), Richard Arculus (ANU),
Mike Coffin (Tasmania) and Richard Wysoczanski (NZ,
NIWA). The workshop is timed to suit an April 2012
drilling proposal submission deadline. In line with
the new IODP science plan, the proposed workshop
would broadly cover the following four themes: 1.
Cenozoic oceanography, climate change, gateways and
reef development. 2. The history of the monsoons. 3.
Tectonics and volcanism. 4. The deep biosphere.
Because there has been no drilling in the Indian
Ocean for nearly a decade, this workshop is seen as
vital in building the international scientific
alliances that can lead to further strong proposals.
EarthByte has many ongoing projects focused on
Indian Ocean research, including a French-Australian
Science and Technology (FAST) project on Indian
Ocean tectonics (Dietmar Müller, Jerome Dyment (IPG
Paris), Jo Whittaker, Ana Gibbons), an upcoming
research cruise on the Southern Surveyor to the
Perth Abyssal Plain (Jo Whittaker, Simon Williams,
Dietmar Müller,), a Statoil-funded industry project
focused on the early evolution of the Indian Ocean
(Dietmar Müller, Jo Whittaker, Ana Gibbons), and
several other projects (ARC Discovery and Linkage)
with global themes, but including strong Indian
Ocean components, e.g. focused on continental
margins surrounding the Indian Ocean, such as
Australia's Northwest Shelf (Christian Heine, Aedon
Talsma), the evolution and closure of the Tethys
ocean, and India-Eurasia collision (Maria Seton,
Sabin Zahirovic, Nicolas Flament, Dietmar Müller)
and the evolution of the topography and segmentation
of the Indian Ocean floor (Kara Matthews, Dietmar
Müller, Jo Whittaker and Paul Wessel (Hawaii).
We welcome a new PhD student
Logan Yeo who will be working with Dietmar and
Patrice joined the editorial
board of Lithosphere, a new journal published by the
Geological Society of America.
This month saw the release of
the proceedings of the 2010 Theo Murphy High Flyers
Think Tank, which was held at the Australian Academy
of Sciences in August 2010 and brought together the
nation's top geoscience researchers, including
EarthByte's Prof. Dietmar Müller and Dr Thomas
Landgrebe, to address challenges in mineral
exploration. Dietmar and Thomas chaired a breakout
group discussion on 'Computational, information
management and modelling advances' and Dietmar
presented a talk on 'Knowledge discovery via a
virtual geological observatory'.
Click for full article.
Click for the complete Think Tank Proceedings.
GPlates 1.0 has been released!
Click to download