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…


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…


Commotion in the deep Southern Ocean

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…


The pains and strains of a continental breakup in the media

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

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 Geosciences, have revealed the underlying mechanics of a continental breakup when this … Read more…

Solving Earth’s giant jigsaw puzzle of tectonic plates

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. 
Read more…


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.

Read more…


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.

Read more…


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!

Read more…


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.   

Read more…


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. 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…

History and current advances in reconstructing the Earth through deep geological time

Rodinia 1000 Ma

Rodinia 1000 MaTime machine: History and current advances in reconstructing the Earth through deep geological time – an article on Quartz by Steve LeVine. The article is a review of the development of ideas and technologies in reconstructing the Earth through deep time, aimed at understanding supercontinent assembly, breakup and dispersal, starting with Alfred Wegener. The article focusses on research activities in the context of the IGCP 648 project ‘Supercontinent Cycles and Global Geodynamics‘ led by Zheng-Xiang Li. The piece provides some historical context, and highlights the work of a number of leading scientists, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students currently involved in this work.  … Read more…


Mammerickx Microplate media coverage

Mammerickx Microplate zoom

Mammerickx Microplate zoomThe recent EPSL article on the discovery of the Mammerickx Microplate, by Dr Kara Matthews, Prof Dietmar Müller and Prof David Sandwell, has received lots of media attention from many different countries around the world including Australia, UK, USA, India, Pakistan, Mexico, Nepal and Honduras.

See below for a list of media items:

Online Media
The biggest continental collision in Earth’s history: Scientists pinpoint crashing together of continents that created the Himalayas 50 million years ago – Daily Mail
Scientists fix date for earth-shattering Himalayan birth pangs – The Sydney Morning Herald
Microplate discovery dates birth of Himalayas – EurekAlert!
Himalayas: Discovery of first ancient Indian Ocean microplate hints at new date of formation of mountain range – Yahoo! News  … Read more…


Ancient Indian Ocean microplate discovery dates birth of Himalayas

Mammerickx Microplate

Mammerickx MicroplateAn international team of scientists led by the University of Sydney’s School of Geosciences has discovered that the crustal stresses caused by the initial collision between India and Eurasia cracked the Antarctic Plate far away from the collisional zone and broke off a fragment the size of Tasmania in a remote patch of the central Indian Ocean.

The ongoing tectonic collision between the two continents produces enormous geological stresses that build up along the Himalayas and lead to numerous earthquakes every year – but now scientists have unravelled how stressed the Indian Plate became 47 million years ago when its northern edge first collided with Eurasia. … Read more…


Opening speech, ARC Research Hub for Basin GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems

Dietmar Müller's BGH opening speech 19 August 2015

Dietmar Müller's BGH opening speech 19 August 2015Prof Dietmar Müller, Wed 19 August 2015

Good afternoon! On behalf of the University of Sydney and the School of Geosciences I welcome you to the opening of the ARC Research Hub for Basin GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems (in short Basin Genesis Hub).

Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet – the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built.

I would like to extend a special thank you to our industry partners, Statoil, Chevron, Oil Search, Intrepid Geophysics and 3D-GEO, many of whom are here today. We are especially pleased to have with us today Ms Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager of the ARC.  … Read more…


Ocean sediment map makes world news

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

Lithology globe Aus Ant viewThe recently-published ocean sediment map made by Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues has taken the world’s media by storm. It’s been reported online and in press, from Australia to Cuba, Hungary and many other countries! See the updated list of media items below, and check out the link to the interactive 3D globe with the ocean sediments map.

Countries where the story has been covered so far:

Australia, UK, USA, India, Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Cuba, Costa Rica and Peru.

Radio Interviews
ABC 774 Melbourne
World’s first digital seafloor map reveals ‘paradise’ – ABC Rural Radio
ABC 702 Sydney
BBC Radio 5 Live’s “Up All Night”
It took more than a year of research and sifting through thousands of samples to generate the world’s first digital map of the seafloor – ABC Country Radio (Interview at 41:10)  … Read more…


Big data reveals geology of world’s ocean floor

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

Lithology globe Aus Ant viewA team led by the University of Sydney School of Geosciences has created the first digital globe of seafloor sediments.

Ocean sediments cover 70% of our planet’s surface, forming the substrate for the largest ecosystem on Earth and its largest carbon reservoir – but the most recent map of seafloor geology was drawn by hand over 40 years ago, at the dawn of modern ocean exploration.

That’s about to change. In a gargantuan effort Adriana Dutkiewicz and her colleagues carefully analysed and categorised 15,000 seafloor sediment samples to reveal the nature of sedimentary blankets over ocean ridges, seamounts and the vast abyssal plains. She teamed up with big data experts to find the best way to use modern computer algorithms to turn the vast sea of point observations into a continuous digital map.  … Read more…