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…

PaleoDEM Resource – Scotese and Wright (2018)

A paleo-digital elevation model (paleoDEM) is a digital representation of paleotopography and paleobathymetry that has been “reconstructed” back in time. This report describes how the 117 PALEOMAP paleoDEMS (see Supplementary Materials) were made and how they can be used to produce detailed paleogeographic maps. The paleoDEMS describe the changing distribution of deep oceans, shallow seas, … 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…

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…

GPlates 2.1 software and data sets

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GPlates 1.5 PromoGPlates is a free desktop software for the interactive visualisation of plate-tectonics. The compilation and documentation of GPlates 2.1 data was primarily funded by AuScope National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS).

GPlates is developed by an international team of scientists and professional software developers at the EarthByte Project (part of AuScope) at the University of Sydney, the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS) at CalTech, the Geodynamics team at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) and the Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics (CEED) at the University of Oslo. … Read more…

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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…

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…

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 green- house and icehouse regimes remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that the palaeolatitudinal dis- tribution … 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…

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…

Models are as hot as rocks!

In a recent paper in JGR-Solid Earth, EarthByter Ömer Faruk Bodur and colleagues show that mantle lithosphere rheology has a primary control on the subduction style (i.e., one-sided vs. double-sided subduction) and strongly affects the pressure-temperature conditions of metamorphic rocks that can be buried >100 km depth and exhume to the surface! This long journey … Read more…

2018 supercomputing resources

The EarthByte group has been awarded 5.3 million computing hours, representing the equivalent of k$AU212, to carry out research for the Basin GENESIS Hub on the supercomputers Raijin (National Computational Infrastructure) and Magnus (Pawsey Supercomputing Centre) for 2018 through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (4.7 MSUs) and the Intersect HPC Resource Allocation Round (600 kSUs).

Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology

Author List: Wenchao Cao, Sabin Zahirovic, Nicolas Flament, Simon Williams, Jan Golonka, Dietmar Müller Citation: Cao, W., Zahirovic, S., Flament, N., Williams, S., Golonka, J., and Müller, R. D., 2017, Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology: Biogeosciences, v. 14, no. 23, p. 5425-5439. Paleogeographic maps, linked to plate tectonic reconstructions, are key components required for climate models … Read more…

Degassing from Continental Rifts Controls Earth’s Thermostat

As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has played a major role in regulating Earth’s climate throughout its history. There are vast stores of carbon in the subsurface, but the global carbon cycle controls how much of that carbon enters the atmosphere. As methods for monitoring and tracking the carbon dioxide that moves … Read more…

GESSS NSW Conference

Congratulations to the EarthByte students who recently represented the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney at the student-run GSA Earth Sciences Student Symposium (GESSS) NSW conference. The event aims to bring together Honours, Masters and PhD students from across NSW to present and discuss their research in a relaxed, supportive environment; a primary goal of GESSS is … Read more…

Continental breakup triggered massive CO2 emissions

Currently, human activity is the primary driver of elevating atmospheric CO2, but the Earth fluctuated from greenhouse to icehouse conditions and back long before humans existed. The question is:  what triggered these long-term climate cycles? Now research at the University of Sydney’s EarthByte Group, in collaboration with the German Research Centre for Geosciences, reveals how … Read more…

Early Career Researcher Grant Scheme Awarded

Congratulations to Sara Moron-Polanco on receiving the 2018 Early Career Researcher Grant Scheme, an internal grant of the University of Melbourne. The funds will be used to obtain thermochronological information to better understand the onshore tectonic and denudation history of the NWS, which will ultimately help to link the onshore and offshore geological history of the … Read more…