2013 PaleoGIS and PaleoClimate Users Conference

Agenda & Presentation Abstracts



Presenting Organization

Presentation Topic


0900 - 0910


Start / Review Agenda

Michael Starble

0910 - 0920



Kelly Wert

0920 - 0945

Institute of Geophysics, University of Texas (Austin)

Quantifying margin deformation and using some ArcGIS tricks to make it work in PaleoGIS

Dr. Ian Norton & Tim Whiteaker

0945 - 1010

The Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons Project

Using Paleogis to illustrate tectonic controls on varied hydrocarbon source rock provinces of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

Dr. Paul Mann

1010 - 1035


PaleoGIS Overview & Update

Karen Meinstein

1035 - 1050


1050 - 1105


PaleoClimate & PaleoRun Overview

Arwen Vaughan

1105 - 1130


PaleoAtlas for ArcGIS, the Global Geology Website, and the Earth System Archive Project

Dr. Christopher Scotese

1130 - 1155

University of Saskatchewan

Further development of a Precambrian plate model and its application in identifying sediment provenance

Dr. Bruce Eglington

1155 - 1220

University of Houston

Revised location for the continent-ocean boundary of Equatorial Brazil from a map of isostatically-corrected basement

Kyle Reuber

1220 - 1300


1300 - 1325

Robertson - CGG

Plate Wizard updates within the latest release of PaleoGIS

Dr. John Watson

1325 - 1350

Maersk Oil

Rift asymmetry in the equatorial Atlantic: Constraints on plate model geometries

Dr. David Lewis

1350 - 1415


Developments and applications of the Neftex plate-tectonic model

Dr. Graham Baines

1415 - 1445

DigsGeo & Rothwell

Techniques for leveraging information rich rasters within PaleoGIS

Bill Dickson & Arwen Vaughan

1445 - 1500


1500 - 1535


"Power User" Techniques: Creative Uses of Deformable Continents

Dr. Malcom Ross

1535 - 1600 +


Conference Summary / Future Direction



Ian Norton and Tim Whiteaker, Institute for Geophysics, University of Texas at Austin.

One technique that can be used for restoring a rift margin to pre-rift geometry is to palinspatically restore crustal volume using 2-D profiles along representative sections of the margin.  This can be done in ArcGIS by utilizing the area attribute that is automatically generated in geodatabase files.  To generate map-view deformed data (e.g. plate polygons and reference geography like coastlines) for reconstructions, it can be pretty painful to restore data vertex by vertex.  A useful technique for handling this task is rubbersheeting, found in the Spatial Adjustment toolbox.  This talk will illustrate crustal-scale cross section restoration and use of the rubbersheeting tool for restoring salt deformation.

Paul Mann, University of Houston; Ian Norton, University of Texas at Austin, Alejandro Escalona, University of Stavanger, Norway

Source rocks in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean area vary by age, type and geographic region.  In this presentation we use a new Paleogis model for the Gulf-Caribbean region to show how each of the various source rocks that range in age from late Jurassic to Miocene is controlled by its underlying basement and basin type.

David S. Lewis, Maersk OiL Houston, Brazil Team

(Details coming)


Christopher R. Scotese, Director, PALEOMAP Project


The PaleoAtlas for ArcGIS is the centerpiece of the PALEOMAP Project's research efforts.  The PaleoAtlas illustrates the plate tectonic, paleogeographic and paleoclimatic evolution of the Earth since the late Precambrian.  It is made up of  more than 140 paleogeographic reconstructions,  at least one for each geological stage during the Phanerozoic.  Two on-going research projects ,  the Global Geology website (www.globalgeology.com) and the Earth System Archive Project are providing new geologic, stratigraphic and paleoclimatic information that is being incorporated into the PaleoAtlas.  These two research projects will be briefly reviewed during my presentation.  Please see attached pdfs for more information about the PALEOMAP PaleoAtlas for ArcGIS and Earth System Archive Project.

Bruce Eglington, Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory, Geological Sciences, University of Saskatchewan

Over the past few years there has been continued interest in the development of plate reconstruction models for the Precambrian. The Palaeoproterozoic portion of our model has been further refined as more geochronology, ore deposits and geophysical datasets have been incorporated. Compilations of geological lithostratigraphic, deformation and metamorphism information in time-space correlation charts is also facilitating assessment of appropriate plate associations and motions. Efforts are now extending to increase the range of the reconstructions to older (early Palaeoproterozoic – Late Archaean) and younger (Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic ) times.

Integration of new types of information from the DateView and StratDB databases, such as detrital zircon U-Pb and Lu-Hf isotope data are also being investigated to assist in understanding Earth evolution, ore deposit formation relative to geodynamic setting and the relative fit of different plates.

The presentation will illustrate the current state of the Precambrian Plates model and its use to investigate regional patterns in ore deposit formation as well as to better understand the origin of sediments derived from multiple crustal blocks by integrating with information stored in the online databases.

Kyle Reuber, PhD candidate, CBTH project, University of Houston


In the obliquely rifted margins of the equatorial Atlantic in northern Brazil and western Africa, mid-Cretaceous continental rifting occurred between closely-spaced transform faults and created alternating areas of structural lows (pull-apart basins) separated by structural highs (transform fault ridges).   Recent supergiant discoveries like Jubilee in Ghana are concentrated in the center of the normally-faulted pull-apart margin with fewer fields present near the steeper, transform fault ridges where basement is shallower, faults more complex, and coarser sediments are present. The small size of the central pull-apart areas on the order of 200-400 km in across-strike basin width makes exploration in the equatorial Atlantic basins much more challenging in comparison to exploration in the orthogonally rifted areas of southern Brazil, where rift structures are longer and play fairways much larger.

The approach by most previous workers in the equatorial basins of northern Brazil is to use high-resolution satellite gravity data to map locations of pull-apart basins and transform fault ridges along with secondary faults and ridges.  The disadvantage of this approach using satellite gravity is that many areas of northern Brazil are buried by 4-18 km of Cretaceous to recent clastic sediments and by even thicker amounts in deltaic regions like the Amazon ( 18 km) and the Barreirinhas (5 km).  In areas where sedimentation exceeds ~10 km in thickness, few basement structural trends can be detected using satellite gravity maps.  To solve this problem, I have isosatically removed the crustal load of the overlying sediments to produce a regional map of the top basement surface that reveals: 1)  an improved position of the continent-ocean boundary; 2) improved details of the pull-apart basins and transform fault ridges; and 3) improved positions of the landward extensions of the transform fault ridges.  These data are being used as constraints for a full-fit reconstruction of the Northern Brazil-Western African margin and the geometry of the pull-apart basins that accompanied early rifting.

John Watson, Structural Geologist, Robertson (UK) Limited - A CGG Company

This session will present updates to the Robertson Plate Wizard rigid model within the latest version of PaleoGIS.

Dr Graham Baines, Geodynamics Product Manager, Neftex

The Neftex Geodynamic Earth Model is a detailed globally consistent plate model that extends from the Neoproterozoic to present. This continually evolving product provides a platform to understand the true geological context of conventional and continuous resource plays and mineral deposits. In this presentation, we present some of the recent developments and refinements in the latest release of the model; in particular, we’ll discuss improvements of the models functionality provided by PaleoGIS and modifications to the plate model in Central America. We will also use the geodynamic model to assess the impact of tectonics on a petroleum system element and to generate input for PaleoClimate.

William Dickson, Arwen Vaughan and Mark Odegard

This presentation showcases an advanced technique for leveraging the rich information characteristics of continental-scale rasters within PaleoGIS. The method converts rasters into vector images, performs a reconstruction and then converts back into a raster. This allows the user to utilize scores of rasters from multiple data attributes to constrain interpretations, producing more robust plate models for further work. The session will present illustrations from the non-exclusive MARIMBA study of South America and Africa showing reconstructions of both continents using our methods.

Rothwell will further present the enhancements within PaleoGIS 4.2 that automate certain aspects of this technique for more general purpose raster reconstructions.

Malcolm Ross, Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.

The deformable shapes algorithm has always been a part of PaleoGIS for ArcGIS, but until recently, its power has not been fully realized and exploited.  In this presentation, I will review the underlying principles of the algorithm, as well as the requirements that are imposed by that design.

Once the underpinnings are clear, I will demonstrate how to use that functionality to build a “fully-realized” plate model – a model that uses the deformation algorithm to fill in gaps in the reconstruction otherwise created by rigid plates, and shows active plate boundaries for all times.

This presentation is intended for experienced plate model builders and PaleoGIS users and thus will assume a certain level of facility with techniques and jargon associated with that process.