Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

Abstract The motion of plates and continents on the planet’s surface are a manifestation of long-term mantle convection and plate tectonics. Present-day plate velocities provide a snapshot of this ongoing process, and have been used to infer controlling factors on the speeds of plates and continents. However, present-day velocities do not capture plate behaviour over … Read more…

The deep Earth origin of the Iceland plume and its effects on regional surface uplift and subsidence

Abstract The present-day seismic structure of the mantle under the North Atlantic Ocean indicates that the Iceland hotspot represents the surface expression of a deep mantle plume, which is thought to have erupted in the North Atlantic domain during the Palaeocene. The spatial and temporal evolution of the plume since its eruption is still highly … Read more…

The Australian-New Zealand IODP Consortium Workshop

The recent Australian-New Zealand IODP Consortium workshop organised jointly with the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney was the largest Australasian workshop for scientific ocean drilling on record with about 100 attendees from 12 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Japan, India, Germany, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and the USA, with the youngest attendee being only … Read more…

Dynamic topography of passive continental margins and their hinterlands since the Cretaceous

Even though it is well accepted that the Earth’s surface topography has been affected by mantle-convection induced dynamic topography, its magnitude and time-dependence remain controversial.  The dynamic influence to topographic change along continental margins is particularly difficult to unravel, because their stratigraphic record is dominated by tectonic subsidence caused by rifting. We follow a three-fold … Read more…

Rodinia conference in Townsville reviews progress and challenges in reconstructing ancient supercontinents

Several EarthByters presented talks at the Rodinia 2017 conference in Townsville, including Dietmar Müller, Andrew Merdith, Simon Williams, Mike Tetley and Nicolas Flament.  The conference was opened by two talks by Alan Collins (Univ. Adelaide) and Andrew, presenting their new Proterozoic Rodinia plate model with continuously closing plate boundaries that were recently published in Gondwana … Read more…

Dietmar Müller to lead Sydney Informatics Core Facility

Dietmar Müller appointed as Director of the Sydney Informatics Hub.  Professor Dietmar Müller has been appointed as the new director of the University’s Sydney Informatics Hub. One of seven Core Research Facilities, the Sydney Informatics Hub offers expertise and capabilities from the University’s High Performance Computing cluster, Artemis, and the Centre for Translational Data Science, … Read more…

Fellows feature story in Crinkling News

Read the story of Dietmar in this week’s edition of Crinkling News, Australia’s only newspaper for kids. He located a photo of himself and his family when he was a kid to share his story of what inspired him to become a scientist. Crinkling News is posted out weekly to 800 Australian schools and has 30,000 young readers. They have … Read more…

Congratulations to the new Australian Academy of Science Fellow Prof Dietmar Muller

Prof Dietmar Muller, EarthByter at the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science for his work on charting the evolution of the Earth through deep time. He is a world-leading geophysicist whose research has transformed our understanding of the Earth’s evolution over the past 200 million years. … Read more…

EarthByters selected as exceptional reviewers for GSA journals

EarthByters selected as exceptional reviewers for GSA journals Several Australian geologists and geophysicists have been selected as exceptional reviewers for Geological Society of America journals, for prompt, insightful, meticulous, and tactful reviews. Nicolas Flament was selected for his reviews of Lithosphere papers, and Dietmar Muller for Geosphere reviews. Other Australians honoured for their quality reviews … 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…

Australasian IODP Regional Planning Workshop

Date: June 13-16, 2017 Venue: The University of Sydney The workshop is co-organised by Neville Exon (Australian National University), Karsten Gohl (Alfred Wegener Institut), Michael Gurnis (California Institute of Technology), Stuart Henrys (GNS Science, Wellington), Fumio Inagaki (JAMSTEC), Rob McKay (Victoria University, Wellington), Dietmar Mueller (University of Sydney, Conference Host), Dhananjai Pandey (NCAOR, India), Amelia … Read more…

EarthByte offers spatio-temporal modeling resources to researchers and the public

In 2016, the EarthByte group, based in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, created a visualization tool and model to measure the interactions of arc volcanism with buried carbonate platforms in deep time. The new workflow tools, which are available to the DCO community, enable scientists to approximate paleo-atmospheric CO2 flux within … Read more…

The effect of continental stress on carbon storage sites

Mitigating global warming by CO2 storage? Check for the continental stressitis. If proposed CO2 sites are not properly assessed for long-term stability,  future civilisations could still suffer the consequences of global warming. Professor Dietmar Müller from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney and Scott Dyksterhuis from ExxonMobil have created a computer model … Read more…

Basin Genesis Hub computer model explains Early Cretaceous eastward flow of ancient Murray River

Murray_RiverAustralia is an outstanding natural laboratory to study the influence of dynamic topography on landscape evolution, having been largely unaffected by tectonic deformation since the Jurassic. Recent studies of the past eastern Australian landscape from present-day longitudinal river profiles and from mantle flow models suggest that the interaction of plate motion with mantle convection accounts for the two phases of large-scale uplift of the region since 120 Ma. … Read more…

Modelling and visualizing distributed compressional plate deformation using GPlates2.0: The Arctic Eurekan Orogeny

Gion_etal_figPresent-day distributed plate deformation is being mapped and simulated in great detail, largely based on satellite observations.  In contrast, the modelling of and data assimilation into deforming plate models for the geological past is still in its infancy.  The recently released GPLates2.0 software provides a framework for building plate models including diffuse deformation.  … Read more…

EarthByte Group develops machine learning recipe to find copper-gold deposits along the Andes

In a paper just published in the journal Tectonics, EarthByter and Natural Sciences, University of Sydney alumnus Nathaniel Butterworth and colleagues from the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney and Data61/CSIRO have developed a spatio-temporal machine learning recipe to identify subduction zone tectonic environments in which porphyry copper-gold deposits tend to form. The new approach … Read more…

Dietmar Müller awarded Vice–Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research

StaffAwards2016_MichaelSpence_RDM.jpgDietmar Müller was awarded one of four 2016 Vice–Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research at the University of Sydney’s first annual award ceremony on the 25th of October. The award reflects many years of inspired, highly productive team work by the entire EarthByte Group, without whom this would not have been possible. It’s really an award for all EarthByters! Read more…

Global plate boundary evolution and kinematics since the late Paleozoic

Matthews++_SummaryFigCitation

Matthews, K.J., Maloney, K.T., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Seton, M., and Müller, R.D. (2016). Global plate boundary evolution and kinematics since the late Paleozoic, Global and Planetary Change, 146, 226-250. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.10.002

Abstract

Many aspects of deep-time Earth System models, including mantle convection, paleoclimatology, paleobiogeography and the deep Earth carbon cycle, require high-resolution plate models that include the evolution of the mosaic of plate boundaries through time. We present the first continuous late Paleozoic to present-day global plate model with evolving plate boundaries, building on and extending two previously published models for the late Paleozoic (410–250 Ma) and Mesozoic-Cenozoic (230–0 Ma). We ensure continuity during the 250–230 Ma transition period between the two models, update the absolute reference frame of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic model and add a new Paleozoic reconstruction for the Baltica-derived Alexander Terrane, now accreted to western North America. This 410–0 Ma open access model provides a framework for deep-time whole Earth modelling and acts as a base for future extensions and refinement.

Read more…

Large fluctuations of shallow seas in low-lying Southeast Asia driven by mantle flow

Zahirovic, S., Flament, N., Müller, R.D., Seton, M., and Gurnis, M. (2016). Large fluctuations of shallow seas in low-lying Southeast Asia driven by mantle flow. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. doi:10.1002/2016GC006434 Large fluctuations of shallow seas in low-lying Southeast Asia driven by mantle flow

Deep Carbon Modelling Workshop

Date:  August 29 – 30 2016 Venue: The University of Sydney Description: A two-day workshop bringing together climate and geo-scientists from around Sydney and international collaborators on the DCO-funded Deep Carbon Modelling project. Deep carbon science describes the multi-disciplinary effort to unravel the dynamic interactions of carbon-bearing systems in deep time. The workshop will focus on exploring the interplays … Read more…

Taking the pulse of the global ocean

sediments_currents_global_oceanWhen organic particles sink from the surface ocean to the seafloor, a small but significant proportion of atmospheric carbon is stored away. Adriana Dutkiewicz and colleagues at the University of Sydney and Data61/CSIRO have now used global data sets collected over decades combined with cutting-edge big data analysis to understand how this process depends on surface ocean environments.   … Read more…

Commotion in the deep Southern Ocean

souther_ocean_circulationCongratulations Adriana Dutkiewicz, Dietmar Müller, Andrew Hogg, and Paul Spence for their recent paper published in Geology. Their paper, Vigorous deep-sea currents cause global anomaly in sediment accumulation in the Southern Ocean, revealed an enormous stretch of the Southern Ocean where sediments are building up at a rate that dwarfs other deep ocean locations. The work has attracted the attention of media internationally. … Read more…

Commotion in the deep Southern Ocean

SE_Ind_ridge_labelled
Bathymetry of the Southeast indian Ridge, where a major sediment accumulation rate anomaly has been linked to lateral changes in the vigour of bottom water flow.

A team led by the University of Sydney School of Geosciences has found an 8,000-km long sediment pile-up in the middle of the Southern Ocean, making this feature unique in the world. Their study was published today in the leading international journal Geology. … Read more…

The pains and strains of a continental breakup in the media

West_Australian_margin.jpg
View of Australia’s western continental margin, looking eastwards from the Indian Ocean.

Congratulations to Dr Sascha Brune, Dr Simon Williams, Dr Nathan Butterworth, and Prof Dietmar Müller on their paper published in Nature earlier this week. The paper,  Abrupt plate accelerations shape rifted continental marginshas been picked up by the media across the globe.

... Read more...

The pains and strains of a continental breakup

View of Australia’s western continental margin, looking eastwards from the Indian Ocean. Every now and then in Earth’s history, a pair of continents draws close enough to form one. There comes a time, however, when they must inevitably part ways. Now scientists at Australia’s EarthByte research group, in collaboration with the German Research Centre for … Read more…

Dietmar Müller finalist for AuScope Excellence in Research Award

Recently the Australian geoscience community celebrated a decade of AuScope achievements. EarthByte’s very own Prof Dietmar Muller was an award finalist for excellence in scientific research and providing tools (such as GPlates) that enable scientific development in our community. GPlates is an open-source and cross-platform tool that is accessible to high school teachers, research scientists and anyone … Read more…

Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events Since Pangea Breakup

Müller, R.D., Seton, M., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Matthews, K.J., Wright, N.M., Shephard, G.E., Maloney, K.T., Barnett-Moore, N., Hosseinpour, M., Bower, D.J., & Cannon, J. (2016). Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events Since Pangea Breakup. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 44 (1): 107–138. doi:10.1146/annurev-earth-060115-012211 Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events … Read more…