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Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates

Gurnis, Michael and Turner, Mark and Zahirovic, Sabin and DiCaprio, Lydia and Spasojevic, Sonja and Müller, R. Dietmar and Boyden, James and Seton, Maria and Manea, Vlad Constantin and Bower, Dan J. (2012) Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates. Computers and Geosciences, 38 (1). pp. 35-42. ISSN 0098-3004. doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2011.04.014.

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We present a new algorithm for modeling a self-consistent set of global plate polygons. Each plate polygon is composed of a finite list of plate margins, all with different Euler poles. We introduce a "continuously closed plate" (CCP), such that, as each margin moves independently, the plate polygon remains closed geometrically as a function of time. This method solves emerging needs in computational geodynamics to combine kinematic with dynamic models. Because they have polygons that are too widely spaced in time and have inconsistent motions between margins and plates, traditional global plate tectonic reconstructions have become inadequate for geodynamics. The CCP algorithm has been incorporated into the GPlates open-source paleogeographic system. The algorithm is a set of procedures and data structures that operate on collections of reconstructed geometric data to form closed plate polygons; the main data structures used for each plate polygon are based on a nested hierarchy of topological elements. Reconstructions with CCPs can be created, edited, visualized, and exported with GPlates. The native storage of the dynamic reconstructions is the GPlates Markup Language, GPML, which uses an XML-based file format called GML. We demonstrate the utility of the CCP method by creating a global reconstruction with continuously closing plates from 140 Ma to the present using data from existing, traditional reconstructions.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Zahirovic, Sabin0000-0002-6751-4976
Müller, R. Dietmar0000-0002-3334-5764
Seton, Maria0000-0001-8541-1367
Bower, Dan J.0000-0002-0673-4860
Additional Information:© 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Received 9 December 2010; Received in revised form 18 April 2011 Accepted 20 April 2011; Available online 11 May 2011. We thank Trond Torsvik and Tim Redfield for discussions during the formulation of our ideas. This is Contribution Number 10,029 of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences and Number 124 of the Tectonics Observatory, Caltech. Figures outside of GPlates were created using the GMT package(Wessel and Smith, 1998). GPlates is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through the Tectonics Observatory at Caltech and by AusScope in Sydney. L. DiCaprio was supported by an ARC Australian Postgraduate Award administered by the University of Sydney. Additional support was provided by the National Science Foundation (EAR-0609707 and EAR-0810303).
Group:Caltech Tectonics Observatory, Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
University of SydneyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Geodynamics; Plate tectonics
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Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Tectonics Observatory124
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120120-120138465
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Official Citation:Michael Gurnis, Mark Turner, Sabin Zahirovic, Lydia DiCaprio, Sonja Spasojevic, R.Dietmar Müller, James Boyden, Maria Seton, Vlad Constantin Manea, Dan J. Bower, Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates, Computers & Geosciences, Volume 38, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 35-42, ISSN 0098-3004, 10.1016/j.cageo.2011.04.014.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:28891
Deposited On:20 Jan 2012 22:24
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 17:01

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