University Of Tasmania
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The Antarctic crust and upper mantle: a flexible 3D model and software framework for interdisciplinary research

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 21:30 authored by Tobias StaalTobias Staal, Anya ReadingAnya Reading, Jacqueline HalpinJacqueline Halpin, Phipps, SJ, Joanne WhittakerJoanne Whittaker
Interdisciplinary research concerning solid Earth-cryosphere interaction and feedbacks requires a working model of the Antarctic crust and upper mantle. Active areas of interest include the effect of the heterogeneous Earth structure on glacial isostatic adjustment, the distribution of geothermal heat, and the history of erosion and deposition. In response to this research need, we construct an adaptable and updatable 3D grid model in a software framework to contain and process solid Earth data. The computational framework, based on an open source software package agrid, allows different data sources to be combined and jointly analyzed. The grid model is populated with crustal properties from geological observations and geochronology results, where such data exist, and published segmentation from geophysical data in the interior where direct observations are absent. The grid also contains 3D geophysical data such as wave speed and derived temperature from seismic tomographic models, and 2D datasets such as gravity anomalies, surface elevation, subglacial temperature, and ice sheet boundaries. We demonstrate the usage of the framework by computing new estimates of subglacial steady-state heat flow in a continental scale model for east Antarctica and a regional scale model for the Wilkes Basin in Victoria Land. We hope that the 3D model and framework will be used widely across the solid Earth and cryosphere research communities.


Publication title

Frontiers in Earth Science



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School of Natural Sciences


Frontiers Research Foundation

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Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Stål, Reading, Halpin, Phipps and Whittaker. This is an openaccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

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  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts); Open access; Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences