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Research Highlights

Why supercontinents became shorter lived as the Earth evolved

Geodynamic modelling performed by EDRG has shown that the lifespan of the supercontinents has been decreasing due to the weakening of the orogens formed during the assembly phase. The work published in Science Bulletin suggests that this is likely caused by Earth's secular cooling.

Evolutionary results for supercontinent assembly and break-up.

Evolutionary results for test case 1 at four critical time points. (a)–(d) Continental drift and orogenesis during the supercontinent assembly and its eventual break-up. The orogens are converted to new ocean when materials at 20-km depth are replaced by upwelling mantle during continental break-up. Black arrows in (a), (b), and (d) denote the motion directions of the continents. (e)–(h) The evolving mantle structure, including cold downwellings (dark blue to blue) and the undulating lower mantle thermo-chemical layer (red to yellow).

Forensic Geochemistry: fingerprinting basalts

Work from the team at EDRG has applied a big data approach to the geochemical discrimination of basalts worldwide. This novel and unique chemical ‘fingerprinting’ approach has been published in an Earth-Science Reviews paper.

Global map showing the distribution of sample locations used in this study for both reference and test datasets. The geochemical data for basalts are sourced from online database EarthChem ( and GEOROC (


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Community Feature Article


Prof. Li was recently featured in an article discussing the work that we do in the Earth Dynamics Research Group. The article was produced by Futurum, a magazine and online platform aimed at inspiring young people to follow a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The article also includes a link to an activity sheet for students and teachers. For more information, teaching resources, and course and career guides, see

CCFS Short Course on Snowball Earth by Professor Paul Hoffman

A CCFS-sponsored short course on the global climatic phenomenon known as Snowball Earth was held at Curtin University on 15 July, 2016.

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Traveling Geologist

The work of previous EDRG team member, Chris Spencer, has seen him visit many exotic and remote locations around the world, documented on his travel blog Traveling Geologist. The page has now expanded to provide a platform for other Earth scientists to share their adventures – check out some of the incredible photos and stories.

Visit the website