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…

Evolution of Earth’s tectonic carbon conveyor belt

This video shows plate motions, carbon storage within tectonic plates and carbon degassing along mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones through time. Our carbon model shows these processes alone cannot explain global cooling in the Cenozoic Era. The effects of rock erosion, not shown here, played a key role. Arrows indicate plate motion speed relative to … Read more…

Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Deep-time exploration for mineral deposits along convergent margins

Postgraduate research scholarship at the EarthByte Group for international and domestic students. Up to $107,850 stipend scholarship to support a PhD student to research in deep-time exploration for mineral deposits along convergent margins   Highlights Value Eligibility Open date Closing date $35,950 pa (for up to 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension) Full-time … Read more…

Part-time research assistant position in mineral exploration

The EarthByte Group is looking for a research assistant as part of our STELLAR industry project in collaboration with BHP. The casual position will be for up to 10 hours per week on average. The successful applicant can complete these hours through a regular weekly schedule or clump their hours into intensive weekly blocks (i.e., … Read more…

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

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 number … Read more…

When the Earth warms, the ocean speeds up

Sixty-six million years of geological data suggests that heating makes ocean currents stronger. By Ellen McPhiddian, Cosmos Ocean currents play a big role in floods, droughts, and other large-scale weather patterns. We know that ocean circulation will be affected by global warming – but figuring out exactly how it will be affected is much more difficult. Will there be … Read more…

Global warming speeds up currents in the ocean’s abyss

University of Sydney media release University of Sydney scientists have used the geological record of the deep sea to discover that past global warming has sped up deep ocean circulation. This is one of the missing links for predicting how future climate change may affect heat and carbon capture by the oceans. Circulation of the … 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…

EPSL: Long-term Phanerozoic sea level change from solid Earth processes

The sedimentary rock record suggests that global sea levels may have fluctuated by hundreds of meters throughout Phanerozoic times. Long-term (10–80 Myr) sea level change can be inferred from paleogeographic reconstructions and stratigraphic methods can be used to estimate sea level change over 1–10 Myr in tectonically quiescent regions assumed to be stable. Plate tectonic … Read more…

Remote Sensing: A Comparative Study of Convolutional Neural Networks and Conventional Machine Learning Models for Lithological Mapping Using Remote Sensing Data

Lithological mapping is a critical aspect of geological mapping that can be useful in studying the mineralization potential of a region and has implications for mineral prospectivity mapping. This is a challenging task if performed manually, particularly in highly remote areas that require a large number of participants and resources. The combination of machine learning … Read more…

GPlates mobile app developer wanted

The EarthByte Group is looking for a student with experience in app development to work as part of an AuScope funded GPlates-in-Schools project. The position will be covered by a casual contract of 20-30 hours per week, depending on the time commitment of the candidate. The successful applicant can complete these hours through a regular … 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…

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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ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF NEW GPLATES WEBSITE

We are very excited to announce the launch of the newly designed GPlates website. Visit the new website at www.gplates.org. After a few months of team work and dedication, we have made the new GPlates website more responsive and more mobile-friendly. As the development team of the GPlates open source project, our goal with this … Read more…

Modelling global precipitation since 250 million years ago

We have developed a novel data-driven approach to reconstruct precipitation patterns through geological time, since the supercontinent Pangea was in existence. Our approach involves linking climate-sensitive sedimentary deposits such as coal, evaporites and glacial deposits to a global plate model, reconstructed paleo-elevation maps and high-resolution General Circulation Models via Bayesian machine learning. We model the … Read more…

Intraplate volcanism triggered by bursts in slab flux

Long-lived, widespread intraplate volcanism without age progression is one of the most controversial features of plate tectonics. Previously proposed edge-driven convection, asthenospheric shear, and lithospheric detachment fail to explain the ~5000-km-wide intraplate volcanic province from eastern Australia to Zealandia. We model the subducted slab volume over 100 million years and find that slab flux drives … Read more…

Coupled evolution of plate tectonics and basal mantle structure

The relationships between plate motions and basal mantle structure remain poorly understood, with some models implying that the basal mantle structure has remained stable over time, while others suggest that it could be shaped by the aggregation and dispersal of supercontinents. Here we investigate the evolution of mantle flow driven by end‐member plate tectonic models … Read more…

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…

PhD Scholarship in Spatio-Temporal Data Mining for Mineral Exploration

Postgraduate research scholarship at the EarthByte Group Up to $105,000 stipend scholarship to support a PhD student to research spatio-temporal data mining for mineral exploration. Highlights Value Eligibility Open date Closing date $35,000 pa (for up to 3 years) Full-time PhD student at the School of Geosciences Hold an honours or master’s degree 1 September 2020 … 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…

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…