Plate reconstruction with ocean basin paleo-ages

A global animation accompanying the publication Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma. Citation Seton, M., et al. (2012), Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma, Earth-Science Reviews, 113(3-4), 212-270. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.03.002. View the full playlist on our EarthByte YouTube channel

Plate reconstruction with paleo-bathymetry of the ocean basins

Reconstructions of tectonic plates and oceanic paleodepth (i.e. paleobathymetry). Citation Müller, R., M. Sdrolias, C. Gaina, and W. Roest (2008). Age, spreading rates, and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 9(4), 19, Q04006. doi: 10.1029/2007GC001743. View the full playlist on our EarthByte YouTube channel

Nature Geoscience – Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes

Whittaker, J. M., Afonso, J. C., Masterton, S., Müller, R. D., Wessel, P., Williams, S. E., & Seton, M. (2015). Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes. Nature Geoscience, 8(6), 479-483. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2437. Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes Download supplementary materials – zip file

Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes

Whittaker et al 2015 MORs plumes LIPSCitation
Whittaker, J. M., Afonso, J. C., Masterton, S., Müller, R. D., Wessel, P., Williams, S. E., & Seton, M. (2015). Long-term interaction between mid-ocean ridges and mantle plumes. Nature Geoscience, 8(6), 479-483.

Summary
Plate tectonic motions are commonly considered to be driven by slab pull at subduction zones and ridge push at mid-ocean ridges, with motion punctuated by plumes of hot material rising from the lower mantle. Within this model, the geometry and location of mid-ocean ridges are considered to be independent of lower-mantle dynamics, such as deeply sourced plumes that produce voluminous lava eruptions-termed large igneous provinces. Here we use a global plate model to reconstruct the locations of large igneous provinces relative to plumes and mid-ocean ridges at the time they formed. … Read more…

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Lord Howe Rise IODP workshop held at University of Sydney

Date: 2015 April 7-10 Venue: The University of Sydney Description: A science meeting at the University of Sydney was held to discuss details of the seven science themes in the Geoscience Australia (GA) – Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) initiated Lord Howe Rise IODP Pre-proposal, IODP proposal 871-Pre. The purpose of the meeting was to look … Read more…

Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

Plate velocities summary figureCitation
Zahirovic, S., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., & Flament, N. (2015). Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 418, 40-52. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.037.

Summary
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 geologically representative periods of time. To address this shortcoming, we use a plate tectonic reconstruction approach to extract time-dependent plate velocities and geometries from which root mean square (RMS) velocities are computed, resulting in a median RMS plate speed of ~4 cm/yr over 200 Myr.  … Read more…

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ScienceNews features an article on Pacific plate motions paper

EarthByte paper ‘Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend‘ is featured in ScienceNews with an article entitled ‘Plate loss gave chain of Pacific islands and seamounts a bend‘. Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend

Global plate and continental velocities since Pangea breakup

This animation portrays the motion of continents (grey, yellow, orange and red) and oceanic plates (blue) since Pangea breakup from 200 million years ago. The model is a modified version of the Seton et al. Citation Zahirovic, S., R. Müller, M. Seton, and N. Flament (2015), Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions, Earth and … Read more…

Geophysical Research Letters – Ridge subduction sparked reorganisation of the Pacific plate-mantle system 60-50 million years ago

Seton, M., Flament, N., Whittaker, J., Müller, R. D., Gurnis, M., & Bower, D. J. (2015). Ridge subduction sparked reorganization of the Pacific plate‐mantle system 60–50 million years ago. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(6), 1732-1740. doi: 10.1002/2015GL063057. Ridge subduction sparked reorganization of the Pacific plate‐mantle system 60–50 million years ago

Geology – Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend

Wright, N. M., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., & Williams, S. E. (2015). Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend. Geology, 43(5), 455-458. doi: 10.1130/G36303.1. Revision of Paleogene plate motions in the Pacific and implications for the Hawaiian-Emperor bend

Research voyage on RV Investigator funded for 2016

Dr Maria Seton and Dr Simon Williams from the School of Geosciences and colleagues from GNS Science and the Geological Survey of New Caledonia were awarded ship time on Australia’s new, state-of-the-art research vessel, the RV Investigator. The supplementary voyage, with Dr Seton as Chief Scientist, will investigate the continuity of Australian terranes into Zealandia … Read more…

Age, spreading rates and spreading asymmetry of the world’s ocean crust

agegrid_ageerror_2008 rategrid_asymgrid_2008We present four companion digital models of the age, age uncertainty, spreading rates and spreading asymmetries of the world’s ocean basins as geographic and Mercator grids with 2 minute resolution. The grids include data from all the major ocean basins as well as detailed reconstructions of back-arc basins.

The age, spreading rate and asymmetry at each grid node is determined by linear interpolation between adjacent seafloor isochrons in the direction of spreading. Ages for ocean floor between the oldest identified magnetic anomalies and continental crust are interpolated by geological estimates of the ages of passive continental margin segments. … Read more…

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters – Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

Zahirovic, S., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., & Flament, N. (2015). Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 418, 40-52. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.037. Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

Earth-Science Reviews – Geological and kinematic constraints on late Cretaceous to mid Eocene plate boundaries in the Southwest Pacific

Matthews, K. J., Williams, S. E., Whittaker, J. M., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., & Clarke, G. L. (2015). Geologic and kinematic constraints on Late Cretaceous to mid Eocene plate boundaries in the southwest Pacific. Earth-Science Reviews, 140, 72-107. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.10.008. Geologic and kinematic constraints on Late Cretaceous to mid Eocene plate boundaries in the southwest … Read more…

Post-Jurassic tectonic evolution of southeast Asia from Zahirovic et al. (2014)

Asia Zahirovic 20maCitation
Zahirovic, S., Seton, M., and Müller, R. D., (2014). The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia: Solid Earth (EGU).

Summary
Tectonic reconstructions of Southeast Asia have given rise to numerous controversies that include the accretionary history of Sundaland and the enigmatic tectonic origin of the Proto South China Sea. We assimilate a diversity of geological and geophysical observations into a new regional plate model, coupled to a global model, to address these debates.

Our approach takes into account terrane suturing and accretion histories, the location of subducted slabs imaged in mantle tomography in order to constrain the evolution of regional subduction zones, as well as plausible absolute and relative plate velocities and tectonic driving mechanisms. … Read more…

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Plate reconstructions of Southeast Asia

This animation is from our recent work on Southeast Asian plate reconstructions. Read the peer-reviewed paper CitationZahirovic, S., M. Seton, and R. Müller (2014), The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia, Solid Earth (EGU), 5, 227-273. doi: 10.5194/se-5-227-2014. View similar animations on our EarthByte YouTube channel

Solid Earth – The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia

Zahirovic, S., Seton, M., & Müller, R. D. (2014). The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia. Solid Earth, 5(1), 227-273. doi:10.5194/se-5-227-2014. The Cretaceous and Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia Download supplementary material – zip file

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems – Community infrastructure and repository for marine magnetic identifications

magnetic_picks_globeMagnetic anomaly identifications form the primary data set from which the age of the oceanic lithosphere can be determined, a critical component of reconstructing the seafloor spreading history of ocean basins. This data is now available as part of an open source, community-driven online repository that contains quality-checked magnetic anomaly picks, organised by ocean basin and publication source.

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Geoscientific Model Development – A suite of early Eocene (~55 Ma) climate model boundary conditions

Herold_etal_2014_BIOME4

Herold, N., Buzan, J., Seton, M., Goldner, A., Green, J. A. M., Müller, R. D., Markwick, P., & Huber, M. (2014). A suite of early Eocene (~ 55 Ma) climate model boundary conditions. Geoscientific Model Development, 7(5), 2077-2090. doi: 10.5194/gmd-7-2077-2014.

A suite of early Eocene (~ 55 Ma) climate model boundary conditions

Supplementary data

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Earth and Planetary Science Letters – Topographic assymetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching

Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Williams, S., Seton, M., Skogseid, J., Heine, C., & Müller, R. D. (2014). Topographic asymmetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 387, 107-119. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2013.11.017. Topographic asymmetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching … Read more…

Topographic asymmetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching

Flament et al EPSL 2014 - FigureCitation
Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Williams, S., Seton, M., Skogseid, J., Heine, C., & Müller, R. D. (2014). Topographic asymmetry of the South Atlantic from global models of mantle flow and lithospheric stretching. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 387, 107-119. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2013.11.017.

Abstract
The relief of the South Atlantic is characterized by elevated passive continental margins along southern Africa and eastern Brazil, and by the bathymetric asymmetry of the southern oceanic basin where the western flank is much deeper than the eastern flank. We investigate the origin of these topographic features in the present and over time since the Jurassic with a model of global mantle flow and lithospheric deformation. The model progressively assimilates plate kinematics, plate boundaries and lithospheric age derived from global tectonic reconstructions with deforming plates, and predicts the evolution of mantle temperature, continental crustal thickness, long-wavelength dynamic topography, and isostatic topography. … Read more…

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Scientific Drilling – Exploring new drilling prospects in the Southwest Pacific

Arculus, R., D’Hondt, S., Exon, N., Foster, C., Gallagher, S. J., Gurnis, M., … & Wallace, L. (2014). Exploring new drilling prospects in the Southwest Pacific. Scientific Drilling, 17, 45-50. doi: 10.5194/sd-17-45-2014. Exploring new drilling prospects in the southwest Pacific

Journal of Geodynamics – Geological, tomographic, kinematic and geodynamic constraints on the dynamics of sinking slabs

Butterworth, N. P., Talsma, A. S., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., Bunge, H. P., Schuberth, B. S. A., … & Heine, C. (2014). Geological, tomographic, kinematic and geodynamic constraints on the dynamics of sinking slabs. Journal of Geodynamics, 73, 1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jog.2013.10.006. Geological, tomographic, kinematic and geodynamic constraints on the dynamics of sinking slabs Supplementary material

Seawater chemistry driven by supercontinent assembly, breakup and dispersal, Müller et al. (2013)

Muller etal Fig1 - Seawater Chemistry Driven by Supercontinental AssemblyCitation
Müller, R. D., Dutkiewicz, A., Seton, M. and Gaina, C. (2013). Seawater chemistry driven by supercontinent assembly, break-up and dispersal Geology. doi 10.1130/G34405.1.

Summary
Global oceans are known to have alternated between aragonite and calcite seas. These oscillations reflect changes in the Mg/Ca ratio of seawater, which control biomineralisation and the composition of marine carbonates and are thought to be caused by the time dependence of crustal accretion at mid-ocean ridge crests and associated high temperature mid-ocean ridge brine flux. Here we use global ocean basin reconstructions to demonstrate that these fluctuations are instead caused by the gradual growth and destruction of mid-ocean ridges and their relatively cool flanks during long-term tectonic cycles thus linking ocean chemistry to off-ridge low temperature hydrothermal flux. Early Jurassic aragonite seas were a consequence of supercontinent stability and minima in mid-ocean ridge length and basalt alteration. The break-up of Pangaea led to a gradual doubling in ridge length and a 50% increase in hydrothermal flux mainly through an enormous increase in ridge flank area, leading to enhanced alteration of basalt, lowered seawater Mg/Ca ratios and marine hypercalcification from 140 to 35 Ma. … Read more…

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