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Linking continental breakup dynamics to climate changes

Project summary

Many fundamental evolutionary cycles on Earth - including the dispersal of supercontinents and the global carbon cycle - are driven by our planet's dynamic engine, plate tectonics. Geodynamic processes hold  important implications for climate science since CO2 is released from Earth’s interior into the atmosphere. In order to link plate tectonics and complex lithospheric deformation to the global carbon cycle we combine  plate tectonic reconstruction with numerical carbon cycle simulation. This allows quantifying the tectonic evolution of plate boundaries as well as tectonic CO2 release rates through deep time with profound implications for long-term climate simulations.

Project duration


Funding Agency


Primary Investigator

Sascha Brune


Simon Williams, Dietmar Müller, Andrew Merdith (EarthByte Group, University of Sydney)


Brune, S., Williams, S.E., and Müller, R.D., 2017, Potential links between continental rifting, CO 2 degassing and climate change through time: Nature Geoscience, v. 10, p. 941, doi: 10.1038/s41561-017-0003-6. Link to Paper

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