GPlates -- Paleogeographic Modelling Tools


Paleogeography and plate tectonic reconstructions are an essential component of geodynamics. However, traditional paleogeographic systems are inadquate for the kinds of problems now being addressed in regional and global-scale geodynamics.
The Geodynamics group is one of the development sites for GPlates, an international consortium, developing a modern paleogeographic (plate tectonic) modeling package. The principal node is the EarthByte group, Sydney University in Australia. GPlates provides interactive plate tectonic reconstructions. It is designed to enable students of earth sciences to manipulate plates on the surface of the globe and create reconstructions of likely plate positions in the past. It also provides researchers in the earth sciences with a powerful tool to combine various types of data, such as point, line and gridded data, and simulate the changes in this data over time.
The Caltech group is responsible for making GPlates compatible with geodynamics simulation software such as the CitcomS global model of mantle of convection. Continuously closing plate ploygons are an essential component of this connection. Watch this quick-time animation of our reconstruction created with Continuously Closely Plates (CCPs) for the Western Pacific from 70 Ma to the present.
The algorithm is described in the following paper and a reconstruction data set created with CCPs being distributed below.

  • Gurnis, M., M. Turner, S. Zahirovic, L. DiCaprio, S. Spasojevic, R. D. Müller, J. Boyden, M. Seton, V. C. Manea, and D. J. Bower, Plate tectonic reconstructions with continuously closing plates, Computers & Geosciences, 38, 35-42, 2012.
  • Download GPlates

  • Gplates can be downloaded from the GPlatesSourceForge site

  • GPlates Plate Polygon Data Distribution

  • Continuously Closing Plate Polygons, 140 Ma to the present. Model Version 0.9.1 (September 18, 2009)
  • Continuously Closing Plate Polygons, 140 Ma to the present. Caltech Version 20101129 (Posted Dec. 9, 2010) Download, License.


  • Other GPlates Compatible Data

  • Earthbyte Group at Sydney University
  • Geodynamics Center, Geological Survey of Norway

  • Convection Movies
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    Last Updated January 3, 2012
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