Update to the Muller et al. (2019) plate reconstructions

The GPlates team at Sydney has been working hard on updates to the relative and absolute plate motions in the Muller et al. (2019) reconstructions, and v2.0 of the model (including GPlates files, age-grids, global and regional animations, stretching factor grids, etc.) are available to download from here:


The Muller et al. (2019) v2.0 release notes are below.

Relative and absolute plate motions

  • Full synchronisation of east Asia reconstructions of Young et al. (2018) from 250 to  130 Ma, including the closure of the Mongol-Okhotsk Ocean
  • Improved kinematics of the back-arc basin history along western North America (250 to 180 Ma) so that the seafloor spreading isochrons are consistent with the implied plate motions
  • Pacific absolute plate motion fixes following Torsvik et al. (2019)
  • Absolute optimised frame, with simplified hierarchy at 5 Myr intervals with optimisation weighting parameters of
    • 0-80 Ma:  TR=1, NR=1, HS=1;
    • 80-170 Ma: TR=1, NR=0.5;
    • 170-250 Ma: TR=1, NR=0.2
    • Where TR=trench migration optimisation, NR=net rotation optimisation and HS=hotspot track fitting, in an optimisation framework as described in Tetley et al. (2019), with numbers referring to relative weights of the optimisation parameters. These parameters were iteratively determined to provide the most optimal absolute plate motion model, given the relative plate motion revisions listed above.

Interpolation of deformation grids

  • Using nearneighbor rather than spherical interpolation (removing areas that have had no deformation)
  • Applying rigid blocks within deformed regions  (e.g. Tarim craton, Khorat platform, etc.), as well as oceanic age-grid, as masks to remove anomalous areas of extrapolation
  • Previous versions had a tiny amount of negative values in stretching factors, but these grids are now clipped to values above zero


Müller, R. D., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S. E., Cannon, J., Seton, M., Bower, D. J., Tetley, M. G., Heine, C., Le Breton, E., Liu, S., Russell, S. H. J., Yang, T., Leonard, J., and Gurnis, M., 2019, A global plate model including lithospheric deformation along major rifts and orogens since the Triassic: Tectonics, v. 38, no. Fifty Years of Plate Tectonics: Then, Now, and Beyond.

Tetley, M.G., Williams, S.E., Gurnis, M., Flament, N. and Müller, R.D., 2019. Constraining absolute plate motions since the Triassic. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124, 7231-7258.

Torsvik, T. H., Steinberger, B., Shephard, G. E., Doubrovine, P. V., Gaina, C., Domeier, M., Conrad, C. P., and Sager, W. W., 2019, Pacific‐Panthalassic reconstructions: Overview, errata and the way forward: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 20, no. 7, p. 3659-3689.

Young, A., Flament, N., Maloney, K., Williams, S., Matthews, K., Zahirovic, S., and Müller, R. D., 2018, Global kinematics of tectonic plates and subduction zones since the late Paleozoic Era: Geoscience Frontiers.


This plate reconstruction model is released under the Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International” license. This allows free use for everyone (including researchers, members of the public, commercial use, etc.) with attribution. Modification of the plate reconstruction model and associated files in this folder is allowed, but any modifications must retain the same license (i.e., will need to be made free to use under the same terms). More information on the license can be found here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode