Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Virtual time machine of Earth's geology now in the cloud
by Staff Writers
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Mar 10, 2016

This is a reconstruction of the supercontinent Pangea 180 million years ago. The colors correspond to fluctuations in the continental gravity field, which reflect the deep continental structure such as roots of ancient mountain chains, basins and fold belts. These features are used to solve the puzzle of re-arranging all continents from todays positions to their ancient placement in Pangea. Image courtesy Professor Dietmar Muller. For a larger version of this image please go here.

How did Madagascar once slot next to India? Where was Australia a billion years ago? Cloud-based virtual globes developed by a team led by University of Sydney geologists mean anyone with a smartphone, laptop or computer can now visualise, with unprecedented speed and ease of use, how the Earth evolved geologically.

Reported in PLOS ONE, the globes have been gradually made available since September 2014. Some show Earth as it is today while others allow reconstructions through 'geological time', harking back to the planet's origins.

Uniquely, the portal allows an interactive exploration of supercontinents. It shows the breakup and dispersal of Pangea over the last 200 million years. It also offers a visualisation of the supercontinent Rodinia, which existed 1.1 billion years ago. Rodinia gradually fragmented, with some continents colliding again more than 500 million years later to form Gondwanaland.

"Concepts like continental drift, first hypothesised by Alfred Wegener more than a century ago, are now easily accessible to students and researchers around the world," said University of Sydney Professor of Geophysics Dietmar Muller.

"The portal is being used in high schools to visualise features of the Earth and explain how it has evolved through time."

The virtual globes includes visual depictions of a high-resolution global digital elevation model, the global gravity and magnetic field as well as seabed geology, making the amazing tapestry of deep ocean basins readily accessible.

The portal also portrays the dynamic nature of Earth's surface topography through time. It visualises the effect of surface tectonic plates acting like giant wobble boards as they interact with slow convection processes in the hot, toffee-like mantle beneath Earth's crust.

"When continents move over hot, buoyant swells of the mantle they bob up occasionally causing mountains," said Professor Muller. "Conversely the Earth's surface gets drawn down when approaching sinking huge masses of old, cold tectonic slabs sinking in the mantle, creating lowlands and depressions in the earth's crust."

Since its inception the portal has been visited more than 300,000 times from more than 200 countries and territories. Individual globes have featured in numerous media articles around the world.

The seafloor geology globe is the most popular, viewed on average 500 times per day. The globe allows the viewer to explore how different types of deep-sea sediments vary between ocean basins, and at different latitudes and depths.

"These cloud-based globes offer many future opportunities for providing on-the-fly big data analytics, transforming the way big data can be visualised and analysed by end users," said Professor Muller.

The interactive globes can be viewed on any browser here.


Related Links
University of Sydney
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Sentinel-3A rides the waves
Paris (ESA) Mar 07, 2016
Following the first impressive images from Sentinel-3A, this latest Copernicus satellite is now showing us how another of its instruments, an altimeter, will track sea-level change. Just after the radar altimeter instrument was turned on, it traced the height of the sea surface over a stretch of the North Atlantic, some of the most dynamic ocean waters in the world. Showing features relati ... read more

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

New Lunar Exhibit Features NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Imagery

Great tilt gave Mars a new face

Space simulation crew hits halfway mark til August re-entry

Monster volcano gave Mars extreme makeover: study

SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for Mars 2020

Sore, but no taller, astronaut Scott Kelly adjusts to Earth

Test Dummies to Help Assess Crew Safety in Orion

Less connectivity improves innovation

Orion launch abort motor case passes structural qualification test

Moving in to Tiangong 2

Logistics Rule on Tiangong 2

China to launch second space lab Tiangong-2 in Q3

China's moon lander Chang'e-3 enters 28th lunar day

International Space Station's '1-year crew' returns to Earth

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko return to Earth after One-Year Mission

Paragon wins NASA ISS water processor development contract

NASA's Science Command Post Supports Scott Kelly's Year In Space

SpaceX launches SES-9 satellite to GEO; but booster landing fails

US Space Company in Talks With India to Launch Satellite

At last second, SpaceX delays satellite launch again

Arianespace Soyuz to launch 2 Galileo satellites in May

Imaging Technique May Help Discover Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

Newly discovered planet in the Hyades cluster could shed light on planetary evolution

Imaging technique may help discover Earth-like planets

Longest-Lasting Stellar Eclipse Discovered

Scaling up tissue engineering

UMass Amherst team offers new, simpler law of complex wrinkle patterns

Electron-beam imaging can see elements that are 'invisible' to common methods

How metal clusters grow

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.