Integrating plate tectonic reconstructions with models of global geodynamics and deep carbon cycling

Dr Sabin Zahirovic
20 September 2019 3:00pm–4:00pm
Room 139, Goddard Building (#08)


Plate tectonics and mantle convection have shaped the evolution of our planet, driving long-term changes in ocean circulation, climate, sea level, topography, and even biological evolution. These processes form a crucial component of the life support system on Earth. In this talk I will summarise our work in building digital community plate tectonic reconstructions in our open-source and cross-platform GPlates ( software. I will cover a number of case studies where the kinematic reconstructions have been used to infer plate speed limits and applied to better understand planetary carbon cycling. In addition, I will provide an overview of our work in driving numerical mantle flow experiments using the plate reconstructions, particularly in the context of how we can validate plate tectonic reconstructions and make inferences about mantle plume evolution. These approaches require the fusion of data and modelling to provide the basis for better understanding the evolution and interaction of Earth systems over geological time scales.


Sabin Zahirovic graduated with Honours (First Class, University Medal) in 2011, and received his PhD, titled 'Post-Pangea global plate kinematics and geodynamic implications for Southeast Asia', in 2015 from the University of Sydney. During 2015-2020 he led the PNG research stream of the ARC Basin GENESIS Hub at the University of Sydney, and was the Hub manager during 2017-2019. Sabin's research focuses on global plate tectonics and mantle evolution, and particularly for the Tethyan and Asian regions. More recently, Sabin has led efforts to use plate tectonic reconstructions to better understand the planetary carbon cycle since the breakup of the Pangea supercontinent. Sabin has been a member of the NSW Geological Society of Australia Committee, as well as the Deep Carbon Observatory Executive Committee - receiving the DCO Emerging Leader Award in 2018, and the GSA Voisey Medal in 2019.


Room 139, Goddard Building (#08)