The role of asthenospheric flow during rift propagation and breakup

Abstract Continental rifting precedes the breakup of continents, leading to the formation of passive margins and oceanic lithosphere. Although rifting dynamics is classically described in terms of either active rifting caused by active mantle upwelling, or passive rifting caused by far-field extensional stresses, it was proposed that a transition from passive to active rifting can … Read more…

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…

Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) proposal funded

Global plate reconstruction

A Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) Proposal, designed to study the interaction of subduction zones with carbonate platforms through time in terms of CO2 cycles, submitted to the Smithsonian Institution and prepared to a large extent by Dr Sabin Zahirovic and EarthByte Research Assistant Jodie Pall, was successful, raising $US36k. The DCO actually doubled our proposed budget from … Read more…

Geodynamics of arc-continent collisions

Courtesy of Prof Louis Moresi, created with the ellipsis software. Citation O’Neill, C., Moresi, L., Müller, R.D., Albert, R. and Dufour, F., 2006, Ellipsis 3D: a particle-in-cell finite element hybrid code for modelling mantle convection and lithospheric deformation, Computers and Geosciences, 32, 1769-1779. View other EarthByte animations on our YouTube channel

Understanding the deep driving forces of Earth’s large-scale topography through time

Global paleogeography figureProject Summary
Continents and sedimentary basins through time record fundamental Earth system cycles, reflecting environmental change, migration of fauna and flora and shifting coastlines. It was originally thought that successive advances and retreats of shallow inland seas mainly reflect global sea level variations (eustasy). It is now well known in principle that large-scale surface morphology such as the high topography of the East African Rift, the low-lying Amazon River Basin and the southwest to northeast tilt of the Australian continent are strongly controlled by processes deep within the Earth, but progress has been slow in quantifying the magnitude and time-dependence of these relationships. … Read more…


Numerical Modeling of Archean Tectonic Regimes by 2-Dimensional Finite Element Code

Project Summary
Many lines of evidence suggest that heat loss from the earth should have been significantly greater in the Archean. The presence of high temperature komatiites, greater radiogenic heat production and heat from the secular cooling of the earth all imply higher mantle temperatures in the Archean. However, these lines of evidence are difficult to reconcile with Archean metamorphic PT data, diamond thermobarometry, mantle xenoliths in kimberlites, the ominous lack of minimum melting granites and estimates for crustal thickness which all suggest that geothermal gradients in the Archean, at least on the continents, were not very different from today. This paradox presents problems for reconstructing Archean tectonic processes and environments.  … Read more…