G-Cubed: Papanin Ridge and Ojin Rise Seamounts (Northwest Pacific): Dual Hotspot Tracks Formed by the Shatsky Plume

The origin of Shatsky Rise, a large igneous plateau in the NW Pacific, has long been debated. It could have either formed by shallow mantle melting due to its confirmed creation along a mid-ocean ridge or with additional contribution of deeper mantle material that upwelled as so-called mantle plume beneath the spreading ridge (“plume-ridge interaction”). … Read more…

STELLAR – Spatio TEmporaL expLorAtion for Resources

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Project STELLAR (Spatio TEmporaL expLorAtion for Resources) is a collaboration between BHP and the EarthByte Group aimed at implementing big and complex spatio-temporal data analysis and modelling to support the needs of BHP in global resource exploration. Split into multiple phases over the next 3.5 years, the project will connect BHP’s warehouse of global resource knowledge with … Read more…

Potential encoding of coupling between Milankovitch forcing and Earth’s interior processes in the Phanerozoic eustatic sea-level record

The driving mechanisms of Earth’s climate system at a multi-Myr timescale have received considerable attention since the 1980’s as they are deemed to control large-amplitude climatic variations that result in severe biogeochemical disruptions, major sea-level variations, and the evolution of Earth’s land- and seascapes through geological time. The commonly accepted mechanism for these changes derives … Read more…

The carbonate compensation depth in the South Atlantic Ocean since the Late Cretaceous

Carbonate accumulation rates (CAR) in the South Atlantic through time, with the average CCD for the South Atlantic shown in black, which the CCD in the Walvis Ridge/Rio Grande Rise area is shown in magenta. Deep-sea carbonate deposition is a complex process that is encapsulated in the carbonate compensation depth (CCD)—a facies boundary separating calcareous … Read more…

Environmental predictors of deep-sea polymetallic nodule occurrence in the global ocean

Abstract: Polymetallic nodules found on the abyssal plains of the oceans represent one of the slowest known geological processes, and are a source of critical and rare metals for frontier technologies. A quantitative assessment of their occurrence worldwide has been hampered by a research focus on the northeastern Pacific Ocean and the lack of a … Read more…

Subduction history reveals Cretaceous slab superflux as a possible cause for the mid-Cretaceous plume pulse and superswell events

Abstract: Subduction is a fundamental mechanism of material exchange between the planetary interior and the surface. Despite its significance, our current understanding of fluctuating subducting plate area and slab volume flux has been limited to a range of proxy estimates. Here we present a new detailed quantification of subduction zone parameters from the Late Triassic … Read more…

Integration of Selective Dimensionality Reduction Techniques for Mineral Exploration Using ASTER Satellite Data

Abstract: There are a significant number of image processing methods that have been developed during the past decades for detecting anomalous areas, such as hydrothermal alteration zones, using satellite images. Among these methods, dimensionality reduction or transformation techniques are known to be a robust type of methods, which are helpful, as they reduce the extent … Read more…

East African topography and volcanism explained by a single, migrating plume

Abstract: Anomalous topographic swells and Cenozoic volcanism in east Africa have been associated with mantle plumes. Several models involving one or more fixed plumes beneath the northeastward migrating African plate have been suggested to explain the space-time distribution of magmatism in east Africa. We devise paleogeographically constrained global models of mantle convection and, based on … Read more…

Surrogate-assisted Bayesian inversion for landscape and basin evolution models

Abstract: The complex and computationally expensive nature of landscape evolution models poses significant challenges to the inference and optimization of unknown model parameters. Bayesian inference provides a methodology for estimation and uncertainty quantification of unknown model parameters. In our previous work, we developed parallel tempering Bayeslands as a framework for parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification … Read more…

Bayesian geological and geophysical data fusion for the construction and uncertainty quantification of 3D geological models

Abstract: Traditional approaches to develop 3D geological models employ a mix of quantitative and qualitative scientific techniques, which do not fully provide quantification of uncertainty in the constructed models and fail to optimally weight geological field observations against constraints from geophysical data. Here, using the Bayesian Obsidian software package, we develop a methodology to fuse … Read more…

Reconstructing seafloor age distributions in lost ocean basins

Abstract: Reconstructions of past seafloor age make it possible to quantify how plate tectonic forces, surface heat flow, ocean basin volume and global sea-level have varied through geological time. However, past ocean basins that have now been subducted cannot be uniquely reconstructed, and a significant challenge is how to explore a wide range of possible … Read more…

A global dataset of present-day oceanic crustal age and seafloor spreading parameters

Abstract: We present an updated oceanic crustal age grid and a set of complementary grids including spreading rate, asymmetry, direction and obliquity. Our dataset is based on a selected set of magnetic anomaly identifications and the plate tectonic model of Müller et al. (2019). We find the mean age of oceanic crust is 64.2 Myrs, … Read more…

Kinematic and geodynamic evolution of the Isthmus of Panama region: Implications for Central American Seaway closure

Abstract: A major topic of debate in Earth and climate science surrounds the timing of closure of the Central American Seaway. While it is clear that the gateway was closed by ~2.8 Ma, recent studies based on geological and marine molecular evidence have suggested an earlier closing time of early to mid-Miocene. Here, we examine … Read more…

Sea level fluctuations driven by changes in global ocean basin volume following supercontinent break-up

Abstract: Long-term variations in eustatic sea level in an ice-free world, which existed through most of the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic eras, are partly driven by changes in the volume of ocean basins. Previous studies have determined ocean basin volume changes from plate tectonic reconstructions since the Mesozoic; however, these studies have not considered a … Read more…

A Quantitative Tomotectonic Plate Reconstruction of Western North America and the Eastern Pacific Basin

Abstract: Plate reconstructions since the breakup of Pangaea are mostly based on the preserved spreading history of ocean basins, within absolute reference frames that are constrained by a combination of age-progressive hotspot tracks and palaeomagnetic data. The evolution of destructive plate margins is difficult to constrain from surface observations as much of the evidence has … Read more…

MinEx CRC PhD project: Bayesian optimisation for drill site selection

MinEx CRC PhD project: Bayesian optimisation for drill site selection at the University of South Australia, the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney and Geoscience Australia, including the Centre for Translational Data Science and the EarthByte Group. Download the MinEx pgrad booklet at https://buff.ly/2N5DLJ0

Muller et al. (2019) deforming plate reconstructions and associated digital supplements (Tectonics)

A Global Plate Model Including Lithospheric Deformation Along Major Rifts and Orogens Since the Triassic R. Dietmar Müller, Sabin Zahirovic, Simon E. Williams, John Cannon, Maria Seton, Dan J. Bower, Michael G. Tetley, Christian Heine, Eline Le Breton, Shaofeng Liu, Samuel H. J. Russell, Ting Yang, Jonathon Leonard, and Michael Gurnis Journal: Tectonics (open access) … 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…

A global review and digital database of large-scale extinct spreading centers

Author List: Sarah MacLeod, Simon Williams, Kara Matthews, Dietmar Müller and Xiaodong Qin Citation: MacLeod, S.J., Williams, S.E., Matthews, K.J., Müller, R.D. and Qin, X., 2017. A global review and digital database of large-scale extinct spreading centers. Geosphere, pp.GES01379-1. Abstract: Extinct mid-ocean ridges record past plate boundary reorganizations, and identifying their locations is crucial to developing a better understanding of the … Read more…

Kinematic constraints on the Rodinia to Gondwana transition

Author List: Andrew Merdith, Simon Williams, Dietmar Müller & Alan Collins. Citation: Merdith, Andrew & Williams, Simon & Müller, Dietmar & Collins, Alan. (2017). Kinematic constraints on the Rodinia-Gondwana transition. Precambrian Research. 299. . 10.1016/j.precamres.2017.07.013. Abstract: Earth’s plate tectonic history during the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea is well constrained from the seafloor spreading record, but evolving plate configurations during … Read more…

Influence of mantle flow on the drainage of eastern Australia since the Jurassic period

Author List: Tristan Salles, Nicolas Flament & Dietmar Müller. Citation: Salles, Tristan & Flament, Nicolas & Müller, Dietmar. (2017). Influence of mantle flow on the drainage of eastern Australia since the Jurassic Period. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 18. . 10.1002/2016GC006617. Abstract:  Recent studies of the past eastern Australian landscape from present-day longitudinal river profiles and from mantle flow models … Read more…

Dynamic topography and eustasy controlled the paleogeographic evolution of northern Africa since the mid-Cretaceous

Author List: Nicholas Barnett-Moore, Rakib Hassan, Dietmar Müller, Simon Williams & Nicolas Flament. Citation: Barnett-Moore, Nicholas & Hassan, Rakib & Müller, Dietmar & Williams, Simon & Flament, Nicolas. (2017). Dynamic topography and eustasy controlled the paleogeographic evolution of northern Africa since the mid Cretaceous. Tectonics. . 10.1002/2016tc004280. Abstract: Northern Africa underwent widespread inundation during the Late Cretaceous. Changes … Read more…

Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia

Author List: Nicolas Flament, Simon Williams, Dietmar Müller, Michael Gurnis & Dan Bower. Citation: Flament, Nicolas & Williams, Simon & Müller, Dietmar & Gurnis, Michael & J. Bower, Dan. (2017). Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia. Nature Communications. 8. . 10.1038/ncomms14164. Abstract: A unique structure in the Earth’s lowermost mantle, the Perm Anomaly, was … Read more…

The origin of contractional structures in extensional gneiss domes

Author List: Patrice Rey, Luke Mondy, Guillaume Duclaux, Christian Teyssier, Donna Whitney, Marie Bocher, cécile Prigent. Citation: Rey, Patrice & Mondy, L & Duclaux, G & Teyssier, Christian & Whitney, Donna & Bocher, Marie & Prigent, cécile. (2017). The origin of contractional structures in extensional gneiss domes. 45. 263-266. 10.1130/G38595. Abstract: The juxtaposition of domains of shortening and extension at different … Read more…

Rock solid insights deepen our understanding of the world

Final year undergraduate student, Madison East is based in the School of Geosciences EarthByte Group, a leading international collaboration between Australian universities, industry partners and centres of excellence. “I began a research scholarship with Dietmar Müller and the EarthByte Groupin the summer of 2016/17 looking at how subduction zones have evolved since the Jurassic,” said … Read more…

Understanding the Deep Carbon Cycle from Icehouse to Greenhouse Climates

Sydney Research Excellence Initiative grant (2017-2018) Research area, key questions, significance, and innovation. The planet is experiencing a major transition from an icehouse climate, one dominated by permanent continental ice sheets at high latitudes, to a greenhouse climate that favours ice-free conditions. Although part of the deglaciation trend is influenced by a natural orbital cycle, … Read more…

A full-plate global reconstruction of the Neoproterozoic

Author List:  Andrew Merdith, Alan Collins, Simon Williams, Sergei Pisarevsky, John Foden, Donnelly Archibald, Morgan Blades, Brandon Alessio, Sheree Armistead, Diana Plavsa, Chris Clark, Dietmar Müller Citation: Merdith, Andrew & Collins, Alan & Williams, Simon & Pisarevsky, Sergei & Foden, John & Archibald, Donnelly & Blades, Morgan & Alessio, Brandon & Armistead, Sheree & Plavsa, Diana & Clark, Chris … Read more…