Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology

Author List: Wenchao Cao, Sabin Zahirovic, Nicolas Flament, Simon Williams, Jan Golonka, Dietmar Müller

Citation: Cao, W., Zahirovic, S., Flament, N., Williams, S., Golonka, J., and Müller, R. D., 2017, Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology: Biogeosciences, v. 14, no. 23, p. 5425-5439.

Paleogeographic maps, linked to plate tectonic reconstructions, are key components required for climate models over geological time. These maps also document the changing surface environments on our planet over millions of years. We are proud to announce that new work, by our PhD student Wenchao Cao, has just been published in Biogeosciences.

The set of maps generated by Wenchao and colleagues represents the first global compilation that is publicly available as a set of flexible digital geometries that can be attached to, and modified for, any plate tectonic reconstruction. Wenchao also used the Paleobiology Database to help improve the paleogeographic maps, which he has made available as GPlates- and GIS-friendly files. This work builds on earlier pioneering efforts of Christopher Scotese and Jan Golonka who compiled much of the underlying lithological data used to create some of the first global paleogeographic maps.

You can download the latest paper, the digital paleogeographic maps, the plate reconstructions, animation and associated supplements from this link:

Please find the link to the animation: Animation_Global_Paleogeographic_Maps.