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…

EarthByte Honours and Masters Projects 2019

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EarthByte has now released a list of Honours/Masters projects to be offered in 2019. These projects are outlined below. Project Title Supervisor(s) How is landscape complexity driving biodiversity over geological time scales? Tristan Salles & Patrice Rey How well are tectonic and climatic signals preserved in the stratigraphic record? Tristan Salles & Claire Mallard Vertical motions … 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…

GPlates 2.1 released (and pyGPlates revision 18)

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GPlates 2.1 was released today! Many bugs have been fixed, including the computation of crustal thinning factors. NetCDF-4 is now supported for raster import/export, i.e. GPlates 2.1 can now read and write GMT-5 grids. Many thanks to the GPlates development team and especially to Sabin Zahirovic without whose tireless efforts GPlates 2.1 would not have … Read more…

Two EarthByters received awards at the 2018 Faculty of Science Awards Reception

Last Tuesday night, two EarthByters received awards at the 2018 Faculty of Science Awards Reception. Mandi Thran, EarthByte PhD student, received the Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement. This prize is awarded by Faculty of Science on the basis of outstanding senior authorship of a research publication during the early phases of candidature. Additionally, … Read more…

Exploring coral reef responses to millennial-scale climatic forcings: insights from the 1-D numerical tool pyReef-Core v1.0

In a paper published this week in European Geosciences Union – EGUGMD Journal, Tristan Salles, Jodie Rae, Jody M Webster & Belinda Dechnik present a 1-D model of coral reefs’ evolution over centennial to millennial timescales. The model allows to estimate the effects of environmental conditions (such as oceanic variability, sedimentation rate, sea-level fluctuations or tectonics) and ecological coral competition on reef … Read more…

GPlates: Building a Virtual Earth Through Deep Time

A paper about the GPlates software has been published in G-cubed. The GPlates virtual globe software provides the capability to reconstruct geodata attached to tectonic plates to develop and modify models that describe how the plates and their boundaries have evolved through time. It allows users to deform plates and to visualize surface tectonics in … Read more…

Large igneous provinces contribute to ups and downs in atmospheric carbon dioxide

About 250 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption flooded modern-day Siberia with lava, creating the Siberian Traps, giant plateaus made of multiple layers of lava. The eruption also released huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that rapidly altered the climate and triggered the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event that wiped out more than … Read more…

Dietmar Muller presents at CONASTA (Science Teachers of Australia Annual Conference)

Even rocks have stories to tell … a message delivered by Dietmar Muller to about 400 teachers from across Australia at CONASTA (Science Teachers of Australia Annual Conference) today on the Sydney Uni campus. This presentation was a warm-up act for Alan Finkel’s following talk on “content matters”, at high schools and universities. Abandon content … Read more…

Student Down Under studies impact of underwater currents – Ryan Gibbs

By Ryan Gibbs A devotion to the ocean has led a Jamestown woman from the smallest state to the smallest continent. Amanda Thran, a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, was awarded the Postgraduate Research Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement at Australia’s oldest college. The 25-year-old from West Reach Drive was recognized for her … Read more…

The influence of carbonate platform interactions with subduction zone volcanism on palaeo-atmospheric CO2 since the Devonian

Abstract: The CO2 liberated along subduction zones through intrusive/extrusive magmatic activity and the resulting active and diffuse outgassing influences global atmospheric CO2. However, when melts derived from subduction zones intersect buried carbonate platforms, decarbonation reactions may cause the contribution to atmospheric CO2 to be far greater than segments of the active margin that lacks buried carbon-rich rocks and … Read more…

Exploring coral reef responses to millennial-scale climatic forcings: insights from the 1-D numerical tool pyReef-Core v1.0

Abstract: Assemblages of corals characterise specific reef biozones and the environmental conditions that change spatially across a reef and with depth. Drill cores through fossil reefs record the time and depth distribution of assemblages, which captures a partial history of the vertical growth response of reefs to changing palaeoenvironmental conditions. The effects of environmental factors on … Read more…

Global kinematics of tectonic plates and subduction zones since the late Paleozoic Period

Abstract: Detailed global plate motion models that provide a continuous description of plate boundaries through time are an effective tool for exploring processes both at and below the Earth’s surface. A new generation of numerical models of mantle dynamics pre- and post-Pangea timeframes requires global kinematic descriptions with full plate reconstructions extending into the Paleozoic … Read more…

The Interplay Between the Eruption and Weathering of Large Igneous Provinces and the Deep-Time Carbon Cycle

Abstract: Although many sources of atmospheric CO2 have been estimated, the major sinks are poorly understood in a deep-time context. Here we combine plate reconstructions, the eruption ages and outlines of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs), and the atmospheric CO2 proxy record to investigate how their eruptions and weathering within the equatorial humid zone impacted global … Read more…

PyBacktrack 1.0: a tool for reconstructing paleobathymetry on oceanic and continental crust

The pyBacktrack software package allows the backtracking of the paleo-water depth of ocean drill sites, providing a framework for reconstructing the accumulation history of sediment components through time. The software incorporates the effects of decompaction of common marine lithologies and allows backtracking of sites on both oceanic and continental crust.  Backtracking on ocean crust is based on … Read more…

Workshop on “Bayeslands: Bayesian inference for Badlands”

Overview: In recent years, the Bayesian inference has become a popular methodology for the estimation and uncertainty quantification of parameters in geological and geophysical forward models via the posterior distribution. Badlands is a basin and landscape evolution model for simulating topography development at various space and time scales. This workshop will present  BayesLands which provides … Read more…

Deep Carbon Observatory Cambridge-Sydney workshop

Almost 30 members of the Deep Carbon Observatory Science Network met on 5 and 6 April 2018 at the University of Cambridge, UK to discuss ways of linking plate tectonic reconstructions to aspects of the deep carbon cycle over geological time. Sabin Zahirovic (EarthByte, University of Sydney, Australia), DCO Synthesis Group 2019 Chair Marie Edmonds … Read more…

Regional volcanism of northern Zealandia: post-Gondwana break-up magmatism on an extended, submerged continent

Abstract Abstract: Volcanism of Late Cretaceous–Miocene age is more widespread across the Zealandia continent than previously recognized. New age and geochemical information from widely spaced northern Zealandia seafloor samples can be related to three volcanotectonic regimes: (1) age-progressive, hotspot-style, low-K, alkali-basalt-dominated volcanism in the Lord Howe Seamount Chain. The northern end of the chain (c. … Read more…

The role of asthenospheric flow during rift propagation and breakup

Abstract Continental rifting precedes the breakup of continents, leading to the formation of passive margins and oceanic lithosphere. Although rifting dynamics is classically described in terms of either active rifting caused by active mantle upwelling, or passive rifting caused by far-field extensional stresses, it was proposed that a transition from passive to active rifting can … Read more…

Controls on the global distribution of contourite drifts: Insights from an eddy-resolving ocean model

Abstract Contourite drifts are anomalously high sediment accumulations that form due to reworking by bottom currents. Due to the lack of a comprehensive contourite database, the link between vigorous bottom water activity and drift occurrence has yet to be demonstrated on a global scale. Using an eddy-resolving ocean model and a new georeferenced database of 267 contourites, we show that the … Read more…

pyBadlands: A framework to simulate sediment transport, landscape dynamics and basin stratigraphic evolution through space and time

Abstract Understanding Earth surface responses in terms of sediment dynamics to climatic variability and tectonics forcing is hindered by limited ability of current models to simulate long-term evolution of sediment transfer and associated morphological changes. This paper presents pyBadlands, an open-source python-based framework which computes over geological time (1) sediment transport from landmasses to coasts, … Read more…

Aftershocks hit Papua New Guinea as it recovers from a remote major earthquake

Another powerful aftershock hit Papua New Guinea this weekend as the recovery effort continues following February’s deadly magnitude 7.5 earthquake, with many thousands of people dependent on humanitarian aid. Aid organisations such as CARE Australia and UNICEF are still seeking donations. The Australian government has sent medical staff and other support to help. Some have criticised the PNG government’s efforts as “too slow”. But the … Read more…

Untangling The Role Of Climate On Sediment And Reef Evolution Over Millennial Timescales

Climatic variability like precipitation changes or increase in extreme events such as storms and tropical cyclones is known to significantly modify the Earth’s surface. Yet, our understanding of how sediment dynamics and reef evolution might respond to these changes is still limited. In a recent study, a team of researchers from the University of Sydney’s … Read more…

Palaeolatitudinal distribution of lithologic indicators of climate in a palaeogeographic framework

Citation: Cao, W., Williams, S., Flament, N., Zahirovic, S., Scotese, C., and Müller, R. D., 2018. Paleolatitudinal distribution of lithologic indicators of climate in a paleogeographic framework. Geological Magazine, 1-24. Abstract: Whether the latitudinal distribution of climate-sensitive lithologies is stable through greenhouse and icehouse regimes remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that the palaeolatitudinal distribution of palaeoclimate … Read more…

No Change in Southern Ocean Circulation in the Indian Ocean From the Eocene Through Late Oligocene

Author List: Nicky M. Wright , Howie D. Scher , Maria Seton , Claire E. Huck , and Brian D. Duggan Citation: Wright, N. M., Scher, H. D., Seton, M., Huck, C. E., & Duggan, B. D. (2018). No change in Southern Ocean circulation in the Indian Ocean from the Eocene through late Oligocene. Paleoceanography … Read more…

RV Investigator voyage funded!

Congratulations to EarthByters Maria Seton (applicant) and Simon Williams, Jo Whittaker (Chief Scientist, UTas) and the rest of the team for their successful application for ship time on Australia’s national marine vessel, the RV Investigator! The 28 day voyage will set sail in August 2019 to investigate hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea. One of … Read more…