Earth-Science Reviews – Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma

Seton, M., Müller, R. D., Zahirovic, S., Gaina, C., Torsvik, T., Shephard, G., … & Chandler, M. (2012). Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200Ma. Earth-Science Reviews, 113(3), 212-270. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.03.002. Download the paper – pdf

6th eResearch Australasia Conference – Evolution of Earth’s topography from models of global mantle flow and lithospheric deformation

Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Williams, S.E., Seton, M. and Müller, R.D., (2012). Evolution of Earth’s topography from models of global mantle flow and lithospheric deformation, 6th eResearch Australasia Conference , Sydney, 28 Oct-1 Nov 2012. Download the paper – pdf

Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin

Shephard 2012 Argentine Basin-1A substantial portion of Earth’s topography is known to be caused by the viscous coupling of mantle flow to the lithosphere but the relative contributions of shallow asthenospheric flow versus deeper flow remains controversial. The Argentine Basin, located offshore of the Atlantic margin of southern South America, is one of the most anomalously deep ocean regions as it is significantly deeper than its age would suggest. … Read more…


Insights on the kinematics of the India-Eurasia collision from global geodynamic models

Image 002We present the input plate motion models and results from the study by Zahirovic et al. (2012) on the India-Eurasia collision using linked kinematic and geodynamic models.

Two end-member scenarios of the India-Eurasia collision were tested. The conventional model invokes long-lived Andean-style subduction along southern Eurasia until continental collision between a maximum extent Greater India and Lhasa at ~60 Ma. … Read more…


G-Cubed – Insights on the kinematics of the India-Eurasia collision from global geodynamic models

Zahirovic, S., Müller, R. D., Seton, M., Flament, N., Gurnis, M., & Whittaker, J. (2012). Insights on the kinematics of the India‐Eurasia collision from global geodynamic models. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 13(4). doi:10.1029/2011GC003883. Download the paper – pdf

Gondwana Research Letters – Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin

Shephard, G. E., Liu, L., Müller, R. D., & Gurnis, M. (2012). Dynamic topography and anomalously negative residual depth of the Argentine Basin.Gondwana Research, 22(2), 658-663. doi:10.1016/ Download the paper – pdf

Computers and Geosciences – Plate Reconstructions with Continuously Closing Plates

Gurnis, M., Turner, M., Zahirovic, S., DiCaprio, L., Spasojevic, S., Müller, R. D., … & Bower, D. J. (2012). Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates. Computers & Geosciences, 38(1), 35-42. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2011.04.014. We present a new algorithm for modeling a self-consistent set of global plate polygons. Each plate polygon is composed of a finite list … Read more…

Cambridge University Press – Next-generation plate-tectonic reconstructions using GPlates

Boyden, J., Müller, R. D., Gurnis, M., Torsvik, T. H., Clark, J. A., Turner, M., … & Cannon, J. S. (2011). Next-generation plate-tectonic reconstructions using GPlates. Geoinformatics: Cyberinfrastructure for the Solid Earth Sciences. Keller, G. R., & Baru, C. (Eds.). (2011). Geoinformatics: cyberinfrastructure for the solid Earth sciences. Cambridge University Press. Download the paper – pdf

Dynamic subsidence of eastern Australia during the Cretaceous

Dynamic Subsidence of Eastern Australia Matthews et al (2011)During the Early Cretaceous Australia’s eastward passage over sinking subducted slabs induced widespread dynamic subsidence and formation of a large eperiogenic sea in the eastern interior. Despite evidence for convergence between Australia and the paleo-Pacific, the subduction zone location has been poorly constrained. Using coupled plate tectonic-mantle convection models, we test two end-member scenarios, one with subduction directly east of Australia’s reconstructed continental margin, and a second with subduction translated ~1000 km east, implying the existence of a back-arc basin. Our models incorporate a rheological model for the mantle and lithosphere, plate motions since 140 Ma and evolving plate boundaries. While mantle rheology affects the magnitude of surface vertical motions, timing of uplift and subsidence depends on plate boundary geometries and kinematics. … Read more…


The subduction reference framework: Unravelling the causes of long-term sea-level change

Project Summary
Sea level has fluctuated by up to 300 m through geological time, creating vast sedimentary basins and associated natural resources. We will use Earth’s subduction history as imaged by seismic tomography to establish a subduction reference framework for the past 200 million years, tracking all tectonic plates in both latitude and longitude. 4D numerical mantle-plate tectonic simulations (3D plus time) will reconstruct how the recycling of old, cold oceanic plates into the mantle have influenced surface topography and sea-level change since the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.  … Read more…


Integration of plate kinematic reconstructions in geodynamic models of mantle convection

Project Summary
Despite more than 30 years of plate tectonics research, we still do not know exactly what drives the plates or controls the time-dependence of mantle convection. Plate motions are linked to processes in the deeper Earth interior by complex, enigmatic cause-and-effect relationships. While mantle convection is generally accepted as the underlying cause of plate motions, the geometry of mantle flow and its relation to plate motions remains poorly understood. As plate tectonics is the Earth Science paradigm, breakthroughs in this field affect understanding of all branches of Earth Science including formation and distribution of natural resources, long-term climate change and natural hazards. … Read more…


Integrating global multidimensional datasets to underpin subduction process modelling during the past 60 million years

Project Report
Understanding the initiation and processes governing subduction remains one of the greatest challenges in geodynamics. Subduction processes affect every aspect of the Earth system, from its control on the thermal and chemical state of the mantle, to its recycling of oceanic lithosphere, sediments, water and volatiles, to its affect on the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and solid Earth through earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Moreover, subduction is generally agreed to be one of the primary driving forces of plate tectonics and mantle convection through slab pull and the addition of raw materials into the mantle. … Read more…


The Mid-Cretaceous seafloor spreading pulse: fact or fiction?

Project Summary
A major debate in Geoscience is centred on the hypothesis that a massive pulse of rapid seafloor spreading occurred during the mid-Cretaceous (~120-80 Ma). It has been suggested that such a pulse caused prolonged magnetic field stability, large igneous provinces, a sea-level highstand, variations in atmospheric CO2 and anoxia, but doubts have been raised about its existence. We propose to test this hypothesis by creating complete palaeo-seafloor age grids for the last 130 m.y. They will serve as input for 3-D spherical convection models, whose output will be groundtruthed by plate kinematics, results from mantle tomography and by the uplift-subsidence history of cratons.  … Read more…