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…

PyBacktrack 1.4 released

PyBacktrack 1.4 is now available, and adds support for generating paleobathymetry grids from submerged present-day crust. PyBacktrack is available as a Python package and a Docker image. Installation instructions can be found online in the pyBacktrack documentation. Changes since version 1.3: Can now generate paleobathymetry grids: Submerged oceanic and continental present-day crust is backtracked and … Read more…

Extending full-plate tectonic models into deep time: Linking the Neoproterozoic and the Phanerozoic

Recent progress in plate tectonic reconstructions has seen models move beyond the classical idea of continental drift by attempting to reconstruct the full evolving configuration of tectonic plates and plate boundaries. A particular problem for the Neoproterozoic and Cambrian is that many existing interpretations of geological and palaeomagnetic data have remained disconnected from younger, better-constrained … Read more…

The use of machine learning in processing remote sensing data for mineral exploration

ASEG will be hosting their next technical meeting on Wednesday 20th April, featuring EarthByter Ehsan Farahbakhsh Title: The use of machine learning in processing remote sensing data for mineral exploration     Time:                    5:30 pm for 6:00 pm start Address:              Level 2, 99 on York (99 York St, Sydney. Room ‘York 2’) For virtual attendance, … Read more…

Groundwater ‘superhighway’ modelled along Australia’s east coast

When floodwaters recede, where do they go? By Loren Smith University of Sydney researchers have modelled water-storing aquifers that perform a natural balancing act: they absorb water during floods and supply water during drought. Yet human intervention is limiting their function. University of Sydney researchers have identified a groundwater ‘superhighway’ along Australia’s east coast. Stretching from … Read more…

Nature Commmunications: Impact of green clay authigenesis on element sequestration in marine settings

Retrograde clay mineral reactions (reverse weathering), including glauconite formation, are first-order controls on element sequestration in marine sediments. Here, we report substantial element sequestration by glauconite formation in shallow marine settings from the Triassic to the Holocene, averaging 3 ± 2 mmol·cm−²·kyr−1 for K, Mg and Al, 16 ± 9 mmol·cm−²·kyr−1 for Si and 6 ± 3 mmol·cm−²·kyr−1 for Fe, which is ~2 orders of magnitude higher … Read more…

Geology: Deep-sea hiatuses track the vigor of Cenozoic ocean bottom currents

The deep-sea stratigraphic record is full of gaps. These hiatuses track changes in ocean circulation and chemistry, but determining their timing and causes has been limited by sparse data and incomplete knowledge of ocean gateway evolution in earlier studies. We combine a significantly expanded, age-calibrated deep-sea stratigraphic database with a global tectonic and paleo–water depth … Read more…

Scientific Reports: Constraining the response of continental‐scale groundwater flow to climate change

Numerical models of groundwater flow play a critical role for water management scenarios under climate extremes. Large‐scale models play a key role in determining long-range flow pathways from continental interiors to the oceans, yet struggle to simulate the local flow patterns offered by small‐scale models. We have developed a highly scalable numerical framework to model … Read more…

Communications Earth & Environment: Quaternary landscape dynamics boosted species dispersal across Southeast Asia

Sundaland, the inundated shelf separating Java, Sumatra and Borneo from the Malay Peninsula, is of exceptional interest to biogeographers for its species richness and its position at the junction between the Australasian and Indomalay biogeographic provinces. Owing to its low elevation and relief, its physiography is contingent on relative sea-level change, which drove Quaternary species … Read more…

Geosphere: Fast Pliocene integration of the Central Anatolian Plateau drainage: Evidence, processes, and driving forces

Continental sedimentation was widespread across the Central Anatolian Plateau in Miocene– Pliocene time, during the early stages of plateau uplift. Today, however, most sediment produced on the plateau is dispersed by a well-integrated drainage and released into surrounding marine depocenters. Residual long-term (106–107 yr) sediment storage on the plateau is now restricted to a few … Read more…

Marine and Petroleum Geology: Single-phase vs two-phase rifting: Numerical perspectives on the accommodation of extension during continental break-up

How continental lithosphere responds to extension is a function of the dynamic interaction between layers of differing rheological properties, including the shallow crust, deep crust, lithospheric mantle, and asthenosphere. We investigate the first-order controls on the modes of extension and timing of transition from continental rifting to development of continental margins via a suite of … Read more…

Basin Research: Modelling the role of dynamic topography and eustasy in the evolution of the Great Artesian Basin

Widespread flooding of the Australian continent during the Early Cretaceous, referred to as the Eromanga Sea, deposited extensive shallow marine sediments throughout the Great Artesian Basin (GAB). This event had been considered ‘out of sync’ with eustatic sea level and was instead solely attributed to dynamic subsidence associated with Australia’s passage over eastern Gondwanan subducted … Read more…

GPlates 2.3 software and data sets

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GPlates is a free desktop software for the interactive visualisation of plate-tectonics. The compilation and documentation of GPlates 2.3 data was primarily funded by AuScope National Collaborative Research Infrastructure (NCRIS).

GPlates is developed by the EarthByte Group (part of AuScope NCRIS) at the University of Sydney and the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS) at California Institute of Technology (CalTech). … Read more…

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Research Associate/Research Fellow in Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics

Keen to work with the EarthByte team on plate tectonic reconstructions and geodynamics? We are seeking an enthusiastic researcher (Level A/B) to join us on the STELLAR project (Spatio TEmporaL expLorAtion for Resources). STELLAR is a collaboration between BHP and the EarthByte Group at the University of Sydney aimed at implementing big and complex spatio-temporal … Read more…

PhD Scholarship Opportunity for Domestic Australian Students

THE RISE AND DEMISE OF EARTH’S GIANT REEF SYSTEMS   Expression of Interest This PhD scholarship is only available to Australian domestic applicants. Submit your expression of interest for this PhD scholarship opportunity to Dr Sabin Zahirovic via email (sabin.zahirovic@sydney.edu.au) by 30 June 2021 (with the subject line “DECRA-PHD-2021”). In your expression of interest, include … Read more…

Chatting about reconstructing 1 billion years of Earth evolution in Geology Bites podcast

In the latest Geology Bites podcast series, Dietmar Muller talks about the challenges and benefits of reconstructing Earth evolution over a billion years with Oliver Strimpel, former astrophysicist and museum director, and Visiting Professor at the Department of Earth Sciences at Oxford University.  https://www.geologybites.com/ A transcript of the podcast can be found here.

Paper in Frontiers of Earth Science: Modeling the Dynamic Landscape Evolution of a Volcanic Coastal Environment Under Future Climate Trajectories

Modeling the Dynamic Landscape Evolution of a Volcanic Coastal Environment Under Future Climate Trajectories Kyle Manley, T. Salles and R. D. Müller As anthropogenic forcing continues to rapidly modify worldwide climate, impacts on landscape changes will grow. Olivine weathering is a natural process that sequesters carbon out of the atmosphere, but is now being proposed … 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…

Concentration-concentration fractal modelling: a novel insight for correlation between variables in response to changes in the underlying controlling geological-geochemical processes

Behnam Sadeghi has recently published a research paper in “Ore Geology Reviews”. This paper is based on one of the methods Behnam has developed in his PhD thesis. It is about a quite novel fractal model, named Concentration-Concentration (C-C), applied to geochemical anomaly classification. Also, in this paper Behnam has proposed a Bayesian framework, using … Read more…

Controls on soil geochemistry fractal characteristics in Lemesos (Limassol), Cyprus

Behnam Sadeghi has recently published a research paper about urban geochemistry in Cyprus, based on soil data, and using fractal models and statistical analysis. A part of this paper is from his PhD thesis. This is a collaborative project with the Geological Survey of Cyprus and UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. ABSTRACT: This … 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…