GPlates-in-schools!

Maria Seton attended Marist College North Shore (Sydney) earlier this week and gave a presentation on “computerised simulations and models of the Earth’s geological history” to a keen group of senior science students. Part of this presentation involved leading a hands-on GPlates activity with the students (see photo). It was a hit and seeing plate … Read more…

Reflections on Earth’s geological history during Earth Hour at Sydney Observatory

The historic Sydney Observatory provided an unrivalled view of Sydney as the city switched its lights off for Earth Hour 2019 on the 30th of March. Public talks included “Sydney Urban Wild” with WIRES campaign Manager Kristie Newton and “Reflecting on Earth” with Dietmar Müller, who built his talk around the idea that understanding the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and thinking about … Read more…

EGU Blog: Meeting Plate Tectonics – Dietmar Müller

David Fernández-Blanco interviewed Dietmar Müller for the EGU Tectonics and Structural Geology Blog, as part of a series of interviews portraying scientists who have contributed to developing and applying plate tectonic theory over the last 50 years.  So far, this set of interviews includes Dan McKenzie, Xavier Le Pichon, Mathilde Cannat, Richard Gordon, Peter Molnar, David Bercovici, Roland … Read more…

Multi-objective Bayesian optimisation for drill site selection

Dietmar gave an invited talk at the 2019 Future of Mining conference in Sydney, with co-authors Sebastian Haan from the Sydney Informatics Hub and Fabio Ramos from the Centre for Translational Data Science. The talk covered how Bayesian optimisation can be used to invert surface geophysical data and physical rock properties derived from drill data … Read more…

Atlas Obscura: Marine Snow Has Cooled the Planet with Dead Plankton for Millions of Years

The bodies of the tiny organisms lock away enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, and they’re in danger. The bottom of the Ocean holds one of the world’s largest and most populous graveyards. It’s crammed with organisms too tiny to see, including plankton, protists, and a type of marine algae called coccoliths. The continuous shower of bodies … Read more…

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…

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…

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…

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 greenhouse and icehouse regimes remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that the palaeolatitudinal distribution of palaeoclimate … 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…

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).

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…

2017 PESA Postgraduate Student Scholarship Awarded

Congratulations to Amy l’Anson on receiving the 2017 PESA Postgraduate Student Scholarship. The aim of the scholarship is to promote and encourage petroleum-related research and education in Australia. This format of sponsorship is designed to provide continual engagement of the recipient with PESA over the period of their research.