Evolution of the global network of tectonic plates 200 million years ago to present

This animation shows the tesselation of the surface of the Earth over the last 200 million years as an evolving "jigsaw puzzle" of plates. Tectonic plates, the pieces of Earth's broken outer shell, are all unequal in size. Today seven plates, including the Pacific Ocean and Africa as the largest plates, account for 94% of the surface while the remaining 6% are occupied by a multitude of small plates, such as Iberia and the Philippine Plate.

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Simulation of mantle convection and evolving tectonic plate network

Simulation of deep earth convection with blue colours in the interior outlining sinking subducted slabs and red colours outlining rising plumes in the Earth’s interior, while the system of tectonic plates at the surface is evolving dynamically, with red colours at the surface outlining evolving plate boundaries, corresponding to relatively low viscosity while the stable interior of the plates has a higher viscosity, shown in green.

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Large-scale dynamic surface topography of Australia since 150 million years ago

This animation shows a model for the mantle-convection-driven component of Australian surface topography (Müller et al., Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 2016). The model was calibrated against four locations in the Eastern Highlands of Australia where surface uplift had been estimated from river profile modelling by Czarnota et al. (J. Geophys. Res. 2014).

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Absolute plate motions and age of the ocean crust around Australia since 150 million years ago

This animation shows a model of absolute plate motions and the age of the ocean crust through time centered on Australia using a plate model from Müller et al. (Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, 2016). The animation corresponds to snapshots of the tectonic evolution portrayed here as shown in Fig. 1 of Müller et al. (Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 2016).

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Reconstruction of the CGMW2010 geological map of the world – Atlantic Ocean

This animation reconstructs the CGMW (Bouysse, 2010) geology of the Atlantic Ocean region from 200 Ma to present, using the GPlates software and the plate model by Seton et al. (Earth-Science Reviews, 2012) with modifications in the Indian Ocean by Gibbons et al. (Gondwana Research, 2015). An interactive display of this reconstruction and some additional information can be found on the GPlates Portal.

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Reconstruction of the CGMW2010 geological map of the world – Indian Ocean

This animation reconstructs the CGMW (Bouysse, 2010) geology of theIndian Ocean region from 200 Ma to present, using the GPlates software and the plate model by Gibbons et al. (Gondwana Research, 2015) for the Indian Ocean. An interactive display of this reconstruction and some additional information can be found on the GPlates Portal.

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Reconstruction of the CGMW2010 geological map of the world – Antarctic region

This animation reconstructs the CGMW (Bouysse, 2010) geology of the circum-Antarctic region from 120 Ma to present, using the GPlates software and the plate model by Seton et al. (Earth-Science Reviews, 2012) with modifications in the Indian Ocean by Gibbons et al. (Gondwana Research, 2015). An interactive display of this reconstruction and some additional information can be found on the GPlates Portal.

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Reconstruction of the CGMW2010 geological map of the world – Arctic region

This animation reconstructs the CGMW (Bouysse, 2010) geology of the circum-Arctic region from 200 Ma to present, using the GPlates software and the plate model by Shephard et al. (Earth-Science Reviews, 2013). Some overlaps of geological elements are caused by small imperfections in the plate polygons published with this plate model. An interactive display of this reconstruction and some additional information can be found on the GPlates Portal.

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Australian paleotopography 70 million years ago to present

This quicktime animation accompanies the paper by Heine, C., Müller, R.D., DiCaprio, L. and Steinberger, B. (2010), Integrating deep Earth dynamics in paleogeographic reconstructions of Australia, Tectonophysics, 483, 135-150. The animation is based on a combination of a present-day digital elevation model corrected for time-dependent sediment thickness in some key areas combined with a model for Australia's plate motion over a convecting mantle, resulting in topography modulated by mantle convection-driven dynamic surface topography back in time and a eustatic sea model (see paper for details).  

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Hawaiian plume motion through geological time

The video, created by Rakib Hassan, shows the southward motion of the modelled Hawaiian plume over geological time and the evolution of its tilt. Note the fast southward motion of the plume before 50 Ma, driven by the southward motion of its root at the northern edge of the Pacific Large Low-Shear Velocity Province (LLSVP). This motion came to a halt after 50 Ma. The black contour marks the 75% chemical concentration isosurface 100 km above the core mantle boundary. 

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Evolution of deep mantle flow under the Pacific Ocean

The video, created by Rakib Hassan, shows the evolution of mean poloidal deep mantle flow in a 300 km thick shell above the core mantle boundary over the last 140 million years. N-S oriented cross sections along two profiles through the Pacific Large Low-Shear Velocity Province (LLSVP) show the evolution of its edges driven by subduction-induced flow.

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Modelled uplift history of the Eastern Australian Highlands through time

Modelled topography of the eastern Australian highlands since 150 million years ago. The model is based on a coupled plate tectonic-mantle convection model run on the Australian high performance computer Raijin. The model shows that the time-dependent interaction of plate motion with mantle downwellings and upwellings accounts for the broad pattern of margin uplift phases.

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Tectonic Plate Velocities from the Triassic Period (230 million years ago) to the present

Reconstructions of absolute plate velocities, with colours and vector lengths indicating plate speed and vector azimuths representing absolute plate motion directions. Subduction zones are coloured magenta teethed lines that indicate subduction polarity, mid-ocean ridges are black lines and coastlines and boundaries between continental blocks and terranes are shown as grey lines. Hammer projection with 30°W … Read more…

High horizontal fault displacement rates and landscape evolution

High horizontal fault displacement rates and landscape evolution video featured image

In this numerical model of landscape evolution we impose over 2 million of years deformation produced with the Underworld software over an initial flat surface, ie a 256 km square box at a resolution of 1 km. On top of the deformed surface, a landscape evolution model, Badlands, is used to simulate both hillslope and … Read more…

Virtual seafloor geology globe spinning North-South

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

This spinning virtual seafloor geology globe is composed of a set of screen captures of an interactive digital globe portraying the distribution of different seafloor sediments available at the Gplates Portal. Citation Dutkiewicz, A., Müller, R. D., O’Callaghan, S., & Jónasson, H. (2015). Census of seafloor sediments in the world’s ocean. Geology, G36883-1. doi: 10.1130/G36883.1. … Read more…

Virtual seafloor geology globe spinning East-West

Lithology globe Aus Ant view

This spinning virtual seafloor geology globe is composed of a set of screen captures of an interactive digital globe portraying the distribution of different seafloor sediments available at the Gplates Portal. Citation Dutkiewicz, A., Müller, R. D., O’Callaghan, S., & Jónasson, H. (2015). Census of seafloor sediments in the world’s ocean. Geology, G36883-1. doi: 10.1130/G36883.1. … Read more…

Plate reconstruction with ocean basin paleo-ages

A global animation accompanying the publication Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma. Citation Seton, M., et al. (2012), Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma, Earth-Science Reviews, 113(3-4), 212-270. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.03.002. View the full playlist on our EarthByte YouTube channel

Plate reconstruction with paleo-bathymetry of the ocean basins

Reconstructions of tectonic plates and oceanic paleodepth (i.e. paleobathymetry). Citation Müller, R., M. Sdrolias, C. Gaina, and W. Roest (2008). Age, spreading rates, and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9(4), 19, Q04006. doi: 10.1029/2007GC001743. View the full playlist on our EarthByte YouTube channel

Geodynamics of arc-continent collisions

Courtesy of Prof Louis Moresi, created with the ellipsis software. Citation O’Neill, C., Moresi, L., Müller, R.D., Albert, R. and Dufour, F., 2006, Ellipsis 3D: a particle-in-cell finite element hybrid code for modelling mantle convection and lithospheric deformation, Computers and Geosciences, 32, 1769-1779. View other EarthByte animations on our YouTube channel

Global plate and continental velocities since Pangea breakup

This animation portrays the motion of continents (grey, yellow, orange and red) and oceanic plates (blue) since Pangea breakup from 200 million years ago. The model is a modified version of the Seton et al. Citation Zahirovic, S., R. Müller, M. Seton, and N. Flament (2015), Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions, Earth and … Read more…