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Interactive reconstructions map the growth of the Indian Ocean



11 February 2013

Geoscientist Ana Gibbons is investigating how the India Ocean grew to its present size and form
Geoscientist Ana Gibbons is investigating how the India Ocean grew to its present size and form

Ana Gibbons, a post-doc researcher from the University of Sydney's EarthByte group, is helping to shed light on how the Indian Ocean grew to its present size and form.

Supported by the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), Ana and her colleagues have collaborated with India's National Institute of Oceanography and the Australian National University to gather and exchange data from the seafloor and surrounding areas.

Using this data, the team have reconstructed the movement of tectonic plates to map the growth of the Indian Ocean after Australia, India, Antarctica, Madagascar and Sri Lanka separated in the Gondwana split more than 150 million years ago.

"It's a bit like doing a really big jigsaw puzzle, though time," she says.

Her findings have also given scientists new insights into the age and nature of Australia's western margins.

The reconstructions show that after the continental split, some Indian regions were transferred back to the Australian plate. About the size of Tasmania, they remain sunken in the seafloor roughly 500-1000 kilometres from the western coast of Australia.

Ana attributes the success of the project to its international reach. She says: "Being able to work with open-minded, enthusiastic professionals from all over the world has helped a lot."


Contact: Richard North

Phone: 02 9351 3191

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