This data collection is associated with the publication: Seton, M., Müller, R. D., Zahirovic, S., Gaina, C., Torsvik, T., Shephard, G., Talsma, A., Gurnis, M., Turner, M., Maus, S., Chandler, M. (2012). Global continental and ocean basin reconstructions since 200 Ma. Earth-Science Reviews, 113(3), 212-270. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.03.002
Global plate motion models provide a spatial and temporal framework for geological data and have been effective tools for exploring processes occurring at the earth's surface. However, published models either have insufficient temporal coverage or fail to treat tectonic plates in a self-consistent manner. They usually consider the motions of selected features attached to tectonic plates, such as continents, but generally do not explicitly account for the continuous evolution of plate boundaries through time. In order to explore the coupling between the surface and mantle, plate models are required that extend over at least a few hundred million years and treat plates as dynamic features with dynamically evolving plate boundaries. We have constructed a new type of global plate motion model consisting of a set of continuously-closing topological plate polygons with associated plate boundaries and plate velocities since the break-up of the supercontinent Pangea. Our model is underpinned by plate motions derived from reconstructing the seafloor-spreading history of the ocean basins and motions of the continents and utilizes a hybrid absolute reference frame, based on a moving hotspot model for the last 100 Ma, and a true-polar wander corrected paleomagnetic model for 200 to 100 Ma. Detailed regional geological and geophysical observations constrain plate boundary inception or cessation, and time-dependent geometry. Although our plate model is primarily designed as a reference model for a new generation of geodynamic studies by providing the surface boundary conditions for the deep earth, it is also useful for studies in disparate fields when a framework is needed for analyzing and interpreting spatio-temporal data.
Authors and Institutions
Maria Seton - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. ORCID: 0000-0001-8541-1367
R. Dietmar Müller - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. ORCID: 0000-0002-3334-5764
Sabin Zahirovic - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. ORCID: 0000-0002-6751-4976
Carmen Gaina - Centre for Geodynamics, Geological Survey of Norway, Norway
Trond Torsvik - Centre for Geodynamics, Geological Survey of Norway, Norway
Grace Shephard - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia. ORCID: 0000-0002-3459-4500
Aedon Talsma - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia
Michael Gurnis - Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA
Mark Turner - EarthByte Research Group, School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, Australia
Stefan Maus - National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, USA
Michael Chandler - School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA
Overview of Resources Contained
The files associated with this data collection allow for the visualisation and/or manipulation of the global plate motion model presented by Seton et al. (2012).
List of Resources
Note: For details on the files included in this data collection, see “Description_of_Resources.txt”.
Note: For information on file formats and what programs to use to interact with various file formats, see “File_Formats_and_Recommended_Programs.txt”.
- Rotations (.rot, 410 KB)
- Plate IDs (.pdf, 102 KB)
- Coastlines (.gpml, .shp, .txt, .kml, total 27.9 MB)
- Continent-ocean boundaries (.gpml, .shp, .txt, .kml, total 823 KB)
- Plate polygons and boundary geometries (.gpml, 29.5 MB)
For more information on this data collection, and links to other datasets from the EarthByte Research Group please visit EarthByte
For more information about using GPlates, including tutorials and a user manual please visit GPlates or EarthByte
Data time period:
Jurassic to Present
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