GPlates: Building a Virtual Earth Through Deep Time

Reconstruction of a selection of the GPlates sample data at 67 million years ago using the Müller, Seton, et al. (2016) plate motion model, including plate boundaries (thick black lines), absolute plate velocity fields (arrows colored by tectonic plate), and reconstructed present‐day coastlines (brown). (a) Reconstruction with reconstructed present‐day topography (Amante & Eakins, 2009), oceanic fracture zones (Matthews et al., 2011), and seafloor isochrons (Müller, Seton, et al., 2016). (b) Reconstruction of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization world geology with present‐day mantle hotspots (red dots with white outlines).

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 the context of convecting mantle structure and evolution by importing seismic tomography models or outputs from geodynamic models. GPlates applications include tectonics, geodynamics, basin evolution, orogenesis, deep Earth resource exploration, paleobiology, paleoceanography, and paleoclimate. The software is enabling endusers in universities, government organizations, industry, and schools to explore the evolution of planet Earth on their desktop. Download GPlates here: and stay tuned for the upcoming release of GPlates2.1.

Link to the paper.