Geology: Submarine volcanism along shallow ridges did not drive Cryogenian cap carbonate formation

The termination of Neoproterozoic “Snowball Earth” glaciations is marked globally by laterally extensive neritic cap carbonates directly overlying glacial diamictites. The formation of these unique deposits on deglaciation calls for anomalously high CaCO3 saturation. A popular mechanism to account for the source of requisite ocean alkalinity is the shallow-ridge hypothesis, in which initial spreading ridges … Read more…

Geology: Duration of Sturtian “Snowball Earth” glaciation linked to exceptionally low mid-ocean ridge outgassing

The Sturtian ‘Snowball Earth’ glaciation (~717–661 Ma) is regarded as the most extreme interval of icehouse climate in Earth’s history. The exact trigger and sustention mechanisms for this long-lived global glaciation remain obscure. The most widely debated causes are silicate weathering of the ~718 Ma Franklin LIP, and changes in the length and degassing of … Read more…

Tectonics: Differential Uplift Triggered Basin-And-Range System: Evidence From Low-Temperature Thermochronology in Eastern NE Asia

Since the Mesozoic, eastern NE Asia has experienced multiple tectonic events, resulting in a complex structure and forming one of the world’s largest Meso-Cenozoic lacustrine basin systems. Presently, basin evolution models require further elucidation regarding the simultaneous generation of diverse rift basins and the potential impact stemming from the closure of the Mudanjiang Ocean, whose … Read more…

Nature: Landscape dynamics and the Phanerozoic diversification of the biosphere

The long-term diversification of the biosphere responds to changes in the physical environment. Yet, over the continents, the nearly monotonic expansion of life started later in the early part of the Phanerozoic eon1 than the expansion in the marine realm, where instead the number of genera waxed and waned over time2. A comprehensive evaluation of … Read more…

Environmental controls on the resilience of Scott Reefs since the Miocene (North West Shelf, Australia): Insights from 3D seismic data

North and South Scott Reefs are isolated carbonate platforms separated by an inter-reef channel on the NWS, Australia. They evolved from a barrier reef in the Miocene, and into isolated carbonate build-ups (ICB’s) during the Pliocene, and finally to the isolated carbonate platforms that continued to present day. However, the timings of coral reef turn … Read more…

The role of surface processes in basin inversion and breakup unconformity

In the context of continental extension, transient compressional episodes (stress inversion) and phases of uplift (depth inversion) are commonly recorded with no corresponding change in plate motion. Changes in gravitational potential energy during the rifting process have been invoked as a possible source of compressional stresses, but their magnitude, timing, and relationship with depth inversions … Read more…

The Role of Isostasy in the Evolution and Architecture of Fold and Thrust Belts

Warmer conditions prevalent in the hinterland of orogenic systems facilitate local ductile flow underneath the surface load, making Airy-like local isostasy more prevalent in these domains. In contrast, flexural isostasy better describes the regional response to surface loading of more rigid lithospheres. Here, we explore how the interaction between horizontal tectonic mass transfer and vertical … Read more…

Scientific Reports: A geospatial platform for the tectonic interpretation of low‐temperature thermochronology Big Data

Low‐temperature thermochronology is a powerful tool for constraining the thermal evolution of rocks and minerals in relation to a breadth of tectonic, geodynamic, landscape evolution, and natural resource formation processes through deep time. However, complexities inherent to these analytical techniques can make interpreting the significance of results challenging, requiring them to be placed in their … Read more…

Scientific Reports: Kimberlite eruptions driven by slab flux and subduction angle

Kimberlites are sourced from thermochemical upwellings which can transport diamonds to the surface of the crust. The majority of kimberlites preserved at the Earth’s surface erupted between 250 and 50 million years ago, and have been attributed to changes in plate velocity or mantle plumes. However, these mechanisms fail to explain the presence of strong … Read more…

PNAS: Earth’s interior dynamics drive marine fossil diversity cycles of tens of millions of years

The fossil record reveals that biotic diversity has fluctuated quasi-cyclically through geological time. However, the causal mechanisms of biotic diversity cycles remain unexplained. Here, we highlight a common, correlatable 36 ± 1 Myr (million years) cycle in the diversity of marine genera as well as in tectonic, sea-level, and macrostratigraphic data over the past 250 … Read more…

Deep time spatio-temporal data analysis using pyGPlates with PlateTectonicTools and GPlately

PyGPlates is an open-source Python library to visualize and edit plate tectonic reconstructions created using GPlates. The Python API affords a greater level of flexibility than GPlates to interrogate plate reconstructions and integrate with other Python workflows. GPlately was created to accelerate spatio-temporal data analysis leveraging pyGPlates and PlateTectonicTools within a simplified Python interface. This … Read more…

Tectonics: Modeling Lithospheric Thickness Along the Conjugate South Atlantic Passive Margins Implies Asymmetric Rift Initiation

The lithospheric architecture of passive margins is crucial for understanding the tectonic processes that caused the breakup of Gondwana. We highlight the evolution of the South Atlantic passive margins by a simple thermal lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) model based on onset and cessation of rifting, crustal thickness, and stretching factors. We simulate lithospheric thinning and select … Read more…

Evolution of Mantle Plumes and Lower Mantle Structure in Numerical Models Using Tectonic Reconstructions as Boundary Conditions

We evaluate four mantle convection models that use tectonic reconstructions to specify kinematic boundary conditions to explore the development of the lower mantle large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVP) structures and their relationship with mantle plumes. Evolution of mantle plumes in our spherical models is broadly consistent with observations including the number of plumes generated … Read more…

Science: Hundred million years of landscape dynamics from catchment to global scale

Our capability to reconstruct past landscapes and the processes that shape them underpins our understanding of paleo-Earth. We take advantage of a global-scale landscape evolution model assimilating paleoelevation and paleoclimate reconstructions over the past 100 million years. This model provides continuous quantifications of metrics critical to the understanding of the Earth system, from global physiography … Read more…

Nature Reviews Earth and Environment: Deconstructing plate tectonic reconstructions

The evolving mosaic of tectonic plates across the surface of the Earth sets boundary conditions for the evolution of biotic and abiotic processes and helps shape the dynamics of its interior. Reconstructing plate tectonics back through time allows scientists from a range of disciplines (such as palaeobiology, palaeoclimate, geodynamics and seismology) to investigate Earth evolution … Read more…

Geology: The role of surface processes in basin inversion and breakup unconformity

In the context of continental extension, transient compressional episodes (stress inversion) and phases of uplift (depth inversion) are commonly recorded with no corresponding change in plate motion. Changes in gravitational potential energy during the rifting process have been invoked as a possible source of compressional stresses, but their magnitude, timing, and relationship with depth inversions … Read more…

Terra Nova: Brief immersion of southern Australia by change in relative plate speed

Dynamic subsidence and uplift of plates are often explained by the vertical motion of density anomalies in the mantle. Such models predict surface vertical motion rates of less than 100 m Myr−1 at long-wavelengths with a timespan of tens of Myr. However, during periods of relative sea-level stability, some of the phases of vertical motion … Read more…

J. Struct. Geol.: Microstructural and textural modification of columnar calcite under increasing shear strain (Evia Island, Greece)

We studied the microstructural and textural modification of columnar calcite naturally deformed at increasing shear strain. The studied marbles were sampled from different structural levels of the Basal Unit of the Cycladic Massif on Evia Island, Greece. The marbles have experienced high pressure metamorphism at peak temperatures around 350 °C. The long axes of the columnar calcite grains and their c-axes were … Read more…

Geol. Soc. London Mem.: Effects of melt-percolation, refertilization and deformation on upper mantle seismic anisotropy: constraints from peridotite xenoliths, Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica

We report on the petrology, microstructure and seismic properties of 44 peridotite xenoliths extracted from the upper mantle beneath Marie Byrd Land (MBL), West Antarctica. The aim of this work is to understand how melt-rock reaction, refertilization, and deformation affected the seismic properties (velocities, anisotropy) of the West Antarctic upper mantle, in the context of … Read more…

Scientific Reports: Javanese Homo erectus on the move in SE Asia circa 1.8 Ma

The migration of Homo erectus in Southeast Asia during Early Pleistocene is cardinal to our comprehension of the evolution of the genus Homo. However, the limited consideration of the rapidly changing physical environment, together with controversial datings of hominin bearing sites, make it challenging to secure the robust timeline needed to unveil the behavior of early humans. Here, … Read more…

Marine Geology: Tidal dynamics drive ooid formation in the Capricorn Channel since the Last Glacial Maximum

Relative sea-level changes can dramatically alter coastal geomorphology and coastlines, which, in turn, can fundamentally alter tidal regimes. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has undergone around 120 m of relative sea level (RSL) rise since the Last Glacial Maximum, ∼20,000 years ago (ka). Ooid grains (sand sized carbonate sediment) that formed in shallow water (>5 m depth) … Read more…

Geoscience Letters: Geophysical model generation with generative adversarial networks

With the rapid development of deep learning technologies, data-driven methods have become one of the main research focuses in geophysical inversion. Applications of various neural network architectures to the inversion of seismic, electromagnetic, gravity and other types of data confirm the potential of these methods in real-time parameter estimation without dependence on the starting subsurface … Read more…

Nature Reviews Earth and Environment: A glimpse into a possible geomorphic future of Tibet

The Tibetan Plateau plays a central role in global atmospheric circulation, acts as a key biodiversity hotspot, and delivers fresh water for more than 20% of the global population. Projecting its future uplift and erosion trajectory over geological time can offer potential testable hypotheses into interactions between tectonic and surface processes. Rey, P., Salles, T., … Read more…

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems: The history of Cenozoic carbonate flux in the Atlantic Ocean constrained by multiple regional carbonate compensation depth reconstructions

The Atlantic is the only ocean basin almost entirely surrounded by passive margins, and a major global long-term sink of carbonate carbon that has evaded subduction. Quantifying the history of carbonate accumulation in the Atlantic has been limited by the absence of well-defined regional carbonate compensation depth (CCD) models. We determine the CCD for the … Read more…

The formation of atolls: new insights from numerical simulations

Several theories have been proposed to explain atoll formation. While karst dissolution during glacial periods and preferential coral reef accretion along raised bank margins during deglaciations and interglacials have been invoked to explain atoll formation, the respective roles of karst dissolution and reef margin construction in atoll formation have not been adequately evaluated by simulations. … Read more…

Nature Communications: Coupled influence of tectonics, climate, and surface processes on landscape evolution in southwestern North America

The Cenozoic landscape evolution in southwestern North America is ascribed to crustal isostasy, dynamic topography, or lithosphere tectonics, but their relative contributions remain controversial. Here we reconstruct landscape history since the late Eocene by investigating the interplay between mantle convection, lithosphere dynamics, climate, and surface pro- cesses using fully coupled four-dimensional numerical models. Our quantified … Read more…

Nature: Post-extinction recovery of the Phanerozoic oceans and biodiversity hotspots

The fossil record of marine invertebrates has long fuelled the debate as to whether or not there are limits to global diversity in the sea. Ecological theory states that, as diversity grows and ecological niches are filled, the strengthening of biological interactions imposes limits on diversity. However, the extent to which biological interactions have constrained … Read more…

Solid Earth: A tectonic-rules-based mantle reference frame since 1 billion years ago – implications for supercontinent cycles and plate–mantle system evolution

Understanding the long-term evolution of Earth’s plate-mantle system is reliant on absolute plate motion models in a mantle reference frame, but such models are both difficult to construct and controversial. We present a tectonic rules-based optimisation approach to construct a plate motion model in a mantle reference frame covering the last billion years and use … Read more…

G-cubed: Slow Geodynamics and Fast Morphotectonics in the Far East Tethys

How can the sluggish, long-wavelength mantle convection be expressed by so many time and space scales of morphotectonic activity? To investigate these relationships, we explore the Java-Banda subduction zone, where geodynamic records cluster. In the far-East Tethys, the exceptionally arcuate Banda subduction zone circumscribes the deepest oceanic basin on Earth, seismotectonic activity slices the upper … Read more…

Front Earth Sci: Two-step Gravity Inversion Reveals Variable Architecture of African Cratons

The lithospheric build-up of the African continent is still to a large extent unexplored. In this contribution, we present a new Moho depth model to discuss the architecture of the three main African cratonic units, which are: West African Craton, Congo Craton, and Kalahari Craton. Our model is based on a two-step gravity inversion approach … Read more…