The subduction reference framework: Unravelling the causes of long-term sea-level change

Project Summary
Sea level has fluctuated by up to 300 m through geological time, creating vast sedimentary basins and associated natural resources. We will use Earth’s subduction history as imaged by seismic tomography to establish a subduction reference framework for the past 200 million years, tracking all tectonic plates in both latitude and longitude. 4D numerical mantle-plate tectonic simulations (3D plus time) will reconstruct how the recycling of old, cold oceanic plates into the mantle have influenced surface topography and sea-level change since the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.  … Read more…


Integration of plate kinematic reconstructions in geodynamic models of mantle convection

Project Summary
Despite more than 30 years of plate tectonics research, we still do not know exactly what drives the plates or controls the time-dependence of mantle convection. Plate motions are linked to processes in the deeper Earth interior by complex, enigmatic cause-and-effect relationships. While mantle convection is generally accepted as the underlying cause of plate motions, the geometry of mantle flow and its relation to plate motions remains poorly understood. As plate tectonics is the Earth Science paradigm, breakthroughs in this field affect understanding of all branches of Earth Science including formation and distribution of natural resources, long-term climate change and natural hazards. … Read more…


How supercontinents and superoceans affect seafloor roughness

Tasman Sea grav SW Indian grav Pacific grav

Seafloor roughness varies considerably across the world’s ocean basins and is fundamental to controlling the circulation and mixing of heat in the ocean and dissipating eddy kinetic energy. Models derived from analyses of active mid-ocean ridges suggest that ocean floor roughness depends on seafloor spreading rates, with rougher basement forming below a half-spreading rate threshold of 30-35 mm/yr, as well as on the local interaction of mid-ocean ridges with mantle plumes or cold-spots.
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Age and Bathymetry of the World’s Ocean Crust for the last 140 million years

Muller etal Figure1Reconstructing vanished oceans
We establish the locations and geometry of mid ocean ridges through time on the basis of marine magnetic anomaly identifications, geological information such as paleomagnetic data from terranes and microcontinents, especially in the Tethys Ocean, mid-oceanic ridge subduction events and the rules of plate tectonics. Based on a global set of tectonic plate rotations we construct a set of refined seafloor isochrons following the interpolation technique outlined by Müller et al. (1997; 2008) but including a multitude of additional data. … Read more…


Lachlan O’Brien wins IYPE student competition

Lachlan O’Brian, a 2007 3rd year student in our School, won the Australian International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) Student Competition with an instrumental piece called ‘Rondosymbiosis’, representative of the origin and evolution of life on the Planet Earth throughout geological time, and presented as an mp3 recording. He will act as ambassador for Australia … Read more…

Software, use cases and tutorials

Software GPlates PPlates Underworld GPlates Use Cases GPlates 0.9.10 GPlates Tutorials Tutorials Use Case: SE Asia Word PDF Sample Data GPlates Data Manual PDF GPlates User Manual PDF