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…

EarthByters find that death of ancient ocean between China and Russia triggered mantle upwelling

Flament_Figure5A collaboration between the University of Wollongong, the EarthByte Group at the University of Sydney, the California Institute of Technology and ETH Zürich have solved the mystery of the formation of a recently discovered structure 2,500 km below the city of Perm in Russia.

Earth’s lowermost rocky mantle, just above its iron-rich core, is characterised by two giant hot upwellings under the Pacific Ocean and Africa. Many islands in the Pacific and around Africa owe their volcanic activity to “hotspots” within these large, hot regions deep underneath the surface.  … Read more…

Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia

Flament_Figure5Citation

Flament, N. et al. Origin and evolution of the deep thermochemical structure beneath Eurasia. Nat. Commun. 7, 14164 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14164 (2016).

Abstract 

A unique structure in the Earth’s lowermost mantle, the Perm Anomaly, was recently identified beneath Eurasia. It seismologically resembles the large low-shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) under Africa and the Pacific, but is much smaller. This challenges the current understanding of the evolution of the plate–mantle system in which plumes rise from the edges of the two LLSVPs, spatially fixed in time. New models of mantle flow over the last 230 million years reproduce the present-day structure of the lower mantle, and show a Perm-like anomaly. The anomaly formed in isolation within a closed subduction network ~22,000 km in circumference before 150 million years ago before migrating ~1,500 km westward at an average rate of 1 cm per year, indicating a greater mobility of deep mantle structures than previously recognized. We hypothesize that the mobile Perm Anomaly could be linked to the Emeishan volcanics, in contrast to the previously proposed Siberian Traps. 

This article is freely accessible using the following link http://rdcu.be/oDqg 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

A rapid burst in hotspot motion through the interaction of tectonics and deep mantle flow

Hassan, R., Müller, R.D., Gurnis, M., Williams, S.E. and Flament, N. (2016). A rapid burst in hotspot motion through the interaction of tectonics and deep mantle flow. Nature, 533, 239-242. doi:10.1038/nature17422 A rapid burst in hotspot motion through the interaction of tectonics and deep mantle flow

How the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain got its spectacular bend

In a paper published in Nature, Rakib Hassan with fellow EarthByters Dietmar Müller, Simon E. Williams & Nicolas Flament, and Caltech’s Michael Gurnis, proposed a solution to a long standing geological mystery – how the distinct bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain came to be. Using NCI’s Raijin supercomputer, the research team simulated flow patterns in the Earth’s mantle over the past 100 million years. The convection model suggests that the history of subduction has a profound effect on the time-dependent deformation of the edges of the Large Low-Shear Velocity Province (LLSVP) under the Pacific. The Hawaiian plume originates from the edge of this province and the southward migration of the plume during the formation of the Emperor chain reflects the migration of the northern edge of the LLSVP before ~47 million years ago. 
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Geologists Discover How Australia’s Highest Mountain Formed

Eastern_australia_topographyCongratulations to Prof Dietmar Müller, Dr Nicolas Flament, Dr Kara Matthews, Dr Simon Williams, and Prof Michael Gurnis on their paper recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Their paper, Formation of Australian continental margin highlands driven by plate-mantle interaction, has featured in a variety of Australian and international media outlets.

Read more…

Geologists Discover How Australia’s Highest Mountain Formed – Media Release

Eastern_australia_topographyGeologists from the University of Sydney and the California Institute of Technology have solved the mystery of how Australia’s highest mountain – Mount Kosciusko – and surrounding alps came to exist.

Most of the world’s mountain belts are the result of two continents colliding (including the Himalayas) or volcanism. The mountains of Australia’s Eastern highlands – stretching from north-eastern Queensland to western Victoria – are an exception. Until now no one knew how they formed.

Read more…

PLOS ONE – The GPlates Portal: Cloud-Based Interactive 3D Visualization of Global Geophysical and Geological Data in a Web Browser

Müller, R. D., Qin, X., Sandwell, D. T., Dutkiewicz, A., Williams, S. E., Flament, N., Maus, S., & Seton, M. (2016). The GPlates Portal: Cloud-Based Interactive 3D Visualization of Global Geophysical and Geological Data in a Web Browser. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0150883. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150883 The GPlates Portal: Cloud-Based Interactive 3D Visualization of Global Geophysical and Geological Data … Read more…

Earth and Planetary Science Letters – Formation of Australian continental margin highlands driven by plate–mantle interaction

Müller, R. D., Flament, N., Matthews, K. J., Williams, S. E., & Gurnis, M. (2016). Formation of Australian continental margin highlands driven by plate–mantle interaction. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 441, 60–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2016.02.025 Formation of Australian continental margin highlands driven by plate–mantle interaction

Geophysical Research Letters – Alignment between seafloor spreading directions and absolute plate motions through time

Williams, S., Flament, N., & Müller, R. D. (2016). Alignment between seafloor spreading directions and absolute plate motions through time. Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 1472–1480, doi:10.1002/2015GL067155. Alignment between seafloor spreading directions and absolute plate motions through time

GPlates Portal International Media Coverage

See the continents form and explore the Earth as never before  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3484766/See-continents-form-explore-Earth-never-Incredible-interactive-globes-planet-s-geology-evolving-let-sea-sediments-gravity-map.html#ixzz42ZW3kniA  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

gravity_grid_180my_agoThe recent article on the GPlates Portal published in PLOS ONE by Prof Dietmar Müller, Xiaodong Qin, Prof David Sandwell, Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz, Dr Simon Williams, Dr Nicolas Flament, Dr Stefan Maus, and Dr Maria Seton, has received significant international media attention over the past week, featuring in articles from Australia, UK, US, India, and UAE!

See the list of online media below, and check out the interactive globes yourself!

Read more…

2016 supercomputing resources

Basin GENESIS Hub logo

The EarthByte group has been awarded 11 million computing hours, representing the equivalent of k$AU440, to carry out research for the Basin GENESIS Hub on the supercomputers Raijin (National Computational Infrastructure) and Magnus (Pawsey Supercomputing Centre) for 2016 through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (7.25 MSUs, one of the top 4 allocations across all disciplines … Read more…

Dr Nico Flament receives a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Nicolas Flament

Nicolas FlamentCongratulations to Dr Nicolas Flament for being awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council!

Below are some details about Nico’s project (2016-2019) entitled ‘The geodynamics of past sea level changes‘:

This project is designed to quantify the effect of flow deep within Earth’s interior on past sea-level changes and on the flooding history of Australia over the last 550 million years. The rise and fall of sea level has shaped our planet over time. This project plans to combine recent advances in tectonic reconstructions and dynamic Earth models with the global and Australian rock record. … Read more…

Influence of subduction history on South American topography

Case 4 paleotopography 16MaCitation
Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Müller, R. D., Bower, D. J., & Husson, L. (2015). Influence of subduction history on South American topography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 430, 9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.08.006.

Abstract
The Cenozoic evolution of South American topography is marked by episodes of large-scale uplift and subsidence not readily explained by lithospheric deformation. The drying up of the inland Pebas system, the drainage reversal of the Amazon river, the uplift of the Sierras Pampeanas and the uplift of Patagonia have all been linked to the evolution of mantle flow since the Miocene in separate studies. Here we investigate the evolution of long-wavelength South American topography as a function of subduction history in a time-dependent global geodynamic model. This model is shown to be consistent with these inferred changes, as well as with the migration of the Chaco foreland basin depocentre, that we partly attribute to the inboard migration of subduction resulting from Andean mountain building. … Read more…

Earth and Planetary Science Letters – Influence of subduction history on South American topography

Case 4 paleotopography 16Ma

Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Müller, R. D., Bower, D. J., & Husson, L. (2015). Influence of subduction history on South American topography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 430, 9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.08.006. Influence of subduction history on South American topography

Opening of ARC Basin Genesis INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION RESEARCH HUB

Basin GENESIS Hub opening group photo 19 August 2015

Basin GENESIS Hub opening group photo 19 August 2015The ARC Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems (Basin GENESIS Hub) opened today at a reception held in the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney. The launch as attended by representatives from Universities, industry, Geoscience Australia, the ARC, the NCI and the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer.

The Basin GENESIS Hub will use computer modelling to fine-tune our understanding of the nation’s sedimentary basins, which hold many of the natural resources we use in day-to-day life.

The research will be of fundamental importance to the geo-software industry used by exploration and mining companies, explains Hub Director Professor Dietmar Müller from the University of Sydney.  … Read more…

Geochemisty, Geophysics, Geosystems – Provenance of plumes in mantle convection models

Hassan, R., Flament, N., Gurnis, M., Bower, D. J., & Müller, D. (2015). Provenance of plumes in global convection models. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. doi: 10.1002/2015GC005751. Provenance of plumes in global convection models

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…

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

Earth and Planetary Science Reviews – Absolute plate motions since 130 ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics

Williams, S., Flament, N., Müller, R. D., & Butterworth, N. (2015). Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 418, 66-77. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.026. Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics

Supplementary resources for “Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics”

Williams et al 2015 figure 3Citation
Williams, S., Flament, N., Müller, R. D., & Butterworth, N. (2015). Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 418, 66-77. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.026.

Summary
The supplementary data set comprise plate reconstructions from 130 Ma to present-day, designed to be used within the open-source reconstruction software GPlates.

There are eight sets of reconstructions. In each case, the relative plate motion (RPM) model is unchanged; the differences lie in the absolute plate motion (APM) model. This is expressed in the rotation file as the finite poles of rotation that describe motion of Africa relative to the Earth’s spin-axis. These files were the basis of the results presented in the EPSL paper.  … Read more…

Supplementary resources for "Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics"

Williams et al 2015 figure 3Citation
Williams, S., Flament, N., Müller, R. D., & Butterworth, N. (2015). Absolute plate motions since 130 Ma constrained by subduction zone kinematics. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 418, 66-77. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.026.

Summary
The supplementary data set comprise plate reconstructions from 130 Ma to present-day, designed to be used within the open-source reconstruction software GPlates.

There are eight sets of reconstructions. In each case, the relative plate motion (RPM) model is unchanged; the differences lie in the absolute plate motion (APM) model. This is expressed in the rotation file as the finite poles of rotation that describe motion of Africa relative to the Earth’s spin-axis. These files were the basis of the results presented in the EPSL paper.  … Read more…

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

Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors – Assimilating lithosphere and slab history in 4-D Earth models

Bower, D. J., Gurnis, M., & Flament, N. (2015). Assimilating lithosphere and slab history in 4-D Earth models. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 238, 8-22. doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2014.10.013. Assimilating lithosphere and slab history in 4-D Earth models