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…

Rift and plate boundary evolution across two super-continent cycles

Abstract The extent of continental rifts and subduction zones through deep geological time provides insights into the mechanisms behind supercontinent cycles and the long term evolution of the mantle. However, previous compilations have stopped short of mapping the locations of rifts and subduction zones continuously since the Neoproterozoic and within a self-consistent plate kinematic framework. … Read more…

Australian-Antarctic breakup and seafloor spreading: Balancing geological and geophysical constraints

Abstract  The motion of diverging tectonic plates is typically constrained by geophysical data from preserved ocean crust. However, constraining plate motions during continental rifting and the breakup process relies on balancing evidence from a diverse range of geological and geophysical observations, often subject to differing interpretations. Reconstructing the evolution of rifting and breakup between Australia and Antarctica epitomizes the challenges involved in … Read more…

EarthByte and the Basin GENESIS Hub welcome Dr Ben Mather

EarthByte and the Basin GENESIS Hub welcome Dr Ben Mather who started last week as a postdoc working on Badlands-Underworld integration, landscape evolution modelling of the Sydney Basin, and implementing new groundwater flow capabilities in Underworld. Ben will be with the team until the end of 2020. Welcome to the EarthByte and the Basin GENESIS Hub, Ben! … Read more…

Oil Search Summer Internship Program

Oil Search’s Reservoir Development team is currently seeking applicants who are interested in completing a Summer Internships project from early December 2018 to March 2019. The Reservoir Development team is tasked with capturing and integrating all geological, reservoir, fluid and wellbore characteristics in order that we can optimise the reserves in our operated oil fields, … Read more…

Geodynamic reconstruction of an accreted Cretaceous back-arc basin in the Northern Andes

Abstract A complex history of subduction, back-arc basin formation, terrane accretion and transpressional shearing characterizes the evolution of the Caribbean and northern South American margin since Jurassic times. Quantitative plate tectonic reconstructions of the area do not include Jurassic-Cretaceous back-arc terranes of which there are both geological and geophysical observations. We developed a revised plate … Read more…

Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception

Abstract: Movements of tectonic plates often induce oblique deformation at divergent plate boundaries. This is in striking contrast with traditional conceptual models of rifting and rifted margin formation, which often assume 2-D deformation where the rift velocity is oriented perpendicular to the plate boundary. Here we quantify the validity of this assumption by analysing the kinematics … Read more…

New interactive rift obliquity globe on the GPlates Portal

The ARC Basin Genesis Hub has made a new interactive rift obliquity globe available on the GPlates Portal at http://portal.gplates.org/cesium/?view=rift_ov, based on a recently published paper entitled “Oblique rifting: the rule, not the exception” in Solid Earth. This virtual globe visualizes extension velocities and obliquities within Earth’s major post-Pangea rift systems. Each circle depicts the … 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…

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…