Nicolas Flament

Nicolas Flament
University of Wollongong | UOW · School of Earth Atmospheric and Life Sciences

BSc, MSc, PhD

About

110
Publications
44,910
Reads
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2,390
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2013 - present
The University of Sydney
Position
  • Research Associate
August 2010 - February 2013
The University of Sydney
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2006 - August 2010
University of Lyon
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (110)
Article
Full-text available
The secular cooling of the Earth's mantle and the growth of the continental crust together imply changes in the isostatic balance between continents and oceans, in the oceanic bathymetry and in the area of emerged continental crust. The evolution of these variables is of fundamental importance to the geochemical coupling of mantle, continental crus...
Article
Full-text available
The topography of Earth is primarily controlled by lateral differences in the density structure of the crust and lithosphere. In addition to this isostatic topography, flow in the mantle induces deformation of its surface leading to dynamic topography. This transient deformation evolves over tens of millions of years, occurs at long wavelength, and...
Article
Full-text available
Resources: https://github.com/badlands-model/g-cubed-2016 Recent studies of the past eastern Australian landscape from present-day longitudinal river profiles and from mantle flow models suggest that the interaction of plate motion with mantle convection accounts for the two phases of large-scale uplift of the region since 120 Ma. We coupled the d...
Article
Full-text available
Full text available from: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14164 A unique structure in the Earth’s lowermost mantle, the Perm Anomaly, was recently identified beneath Eurasia. It seismologically resembles the large low-shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) under Africa and the Pacific, but is much smaller. This challenges the current understanding...
Article
Earth's large-scale topography and lower-mantle structure are linked to past tectonic motions and mantle flow, making it possible to gain insights in the properties of the solid Earth from time-dependent global convection models driven by tectonic reconstructions. Recent work suggests that the amplitude of residual topography, obtained by subtracti...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the long-term evolution of Earth's plate–mantle system is reliant on absolute plate motion models in a mantle reference frame, but such models are both difficult to construct and controversial. We present a tectonic-rules-based optimization approach to construct a plate motion model in a mantle reference frame covering the last billio...
Article
Kimberlites are the primary source of economic grade diamonds. Their geologically rapid eruptions preferentially occur near or through thick and ancient continental lithosphere. Studies combining tomographic models with tectonic reconstructions and kimberlite emplacement ages and locations have revealed spatial correlations between large low shear...
Article
Full-text available
Northwest Pacific-Izanagi subduction histories along Eurasia are poorly constrained due to extensive subduction, which partially consumed the western Pacific plate and the entire Izanagi plate, its hypothesized conjugate margin. Here we reconstruct NW Pacific-Izanagi plate tectonics since Cretaceous times by mapping and structurally restoring (i.e....
Article
The sedimentary rock record suggests that global sea levels may have fluctuated by hundreds of meters throughout Phanerozoic times. Long-term (10–80 Myr) sea level change can be inferred from paleogeographic reconstructions and stratigraphic methods can be used to estimate sea level change over 1–10 Myr in tectonically quiescent regions assumed to...
Article
Full-text available
Plate tectonics shapes Earth’s surface, and is linked to motions within its deep interior1,2. Cold oceanic lithosphere sinks into the mantle, and hot mantle plumes rise from the deep Earth, leading to volcanism3,4. Volcanic eruptions over the past 320 million years have been linked to two large structures at the base of the mantle presently under A...
Preprint
Understanding the long-term evolution of Earth's plate-mantle system is reliant on absolute plate motion models in a mantle reference frame, but such models are both difficult to construct and controversial. We present a tectonic rules-based optimisation approach to construct a plate motion model in a mantle reference frame covering the last billio...
Article
Full-text available
Seismic studies have revealed two Large Low-Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs) in the lowermost mantle. Whether these structures remain stable over time or evolve through supercontinent cycles is debated. Here we analyze a recently published mantle flow model constrained by a synthetic plate motion model extending back to one billion years ago, to i...
Article
Widespread flooding of the Australian continent during the Early Cretaceous, referred to as the Eromanga Sea, deposited extensive shallow marine sediments throughout the Great Artesian Basin. This event had been considered ‘out of sync’ with eustatic sea level and was instead solely attributed to dynamic subsidence associated with Australia’s passa...
Article
Widespread igneous rocks were emplaced in the eastern 2331 (SCB) from the Jurassic to the Cretaceous period. These rocks include granitoids and rhyolites, and minor mafic and rare intermediate igneous rocks, of unclear geodynamic origins. We compiled 780 published igneous rock ages to age-code a 1:500, 000 digital geological map, which was then use...
Article
Mantle plumes provide valuable information about whole-mantle convection: they originate at the core-mantle boundary, cross Earth's mantle and interact with the lithosphere. For instance, it has been proposed that the mobility/stability of plumes depends on plume intrinsic properties, on how slabs interact with the basal boundary layer, on mantle f...
Article
Full-text available
During the Paleozoic, sedimentary basins developed within Gondwana without evolving to diverging plate boundaries. Such intracontinental basins present long subsidence histories with multiple phases of accelerated subsidence that are not always easily explained by far-field tectonic forces, and may be driven by processes other than rifting and ther...
Article
Full-text available
Reconstructions of past seafloor age make it possible to quantify how plate tectonic forces, surface heat flow, ocean basin volume and global sea-level have varied through geological time. However, past ocean basins that have now been subducted cannot be uniquely reconstructed, and a significant challenge is how to explore a wide range of possible...
Article
Full-text available
Dynamic topography due to mantle flow contributes to shaping Earth's evolving landscapes by affecting sediment routing, which has rarely been explored in source‐to‐sink contexts. Here we design a generic model to investigate the impact of dynamic topography on both landscape evolution and stratigraphic formations. An imposed wave of dynamic topogra...
Article
Access the article at https://rdcu.be/bRdRF The structure of the lithosphere is key to reconciling the dynamic topography predicted by mantle convection models with residual topography derived from observations, suggest analyses of both models and data.
Preprint
We develop methods to incorporate paleogeographical constraints into numerical models of mantle convection. Through the solution of the convection equations, the models honor geophysical and geological data near the surface while predicting mantle flow and structure at depth and associated surface deformation. The methods consist of four constraint...
Article
Full-text available
The absolute motion of tectonic plates since Pangea can be derived from observations of hotspot trails, paleomagnetism or seismic tomography. However, fitting observations is typically carried out in isolation without consideration for the fit to unused data or whether the resulting plate motions are geodynamically plausible. Through the joint eval...
Article
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The sedimentary architecture at continental margins reflects the interplay between the rate of change of accommodation creation (δA) and the rate of change of sediment supply (δS). Stratigraphic interpretation increasingly focuses on understanding the link between deposition patterns and changes in δA∕δS, with an attempt to reconstruct the contribu...
Article
Global sea level change can be inferred from sequence stratigraphic and continental flooding data. These methods reconstruct sea level from peri-cratonic and cratonic basins that are assumed to be tectonically stable and sometimes called reference districts, and from spatio-temporal correlations across basins. However, it has been understood that l...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sedimentary architecture at continental margins reflects the interplay between the rate of change of accommodation creation (δA) and the rate of change of sediment supply (δS). As a result, stratigraphic interpretation increasingly focuses on understanding the link between deposition patterns and changes in δA/δS. Here, we use the landscape mod...
Article
A complex history of subduction, back-arc basin formation, terrane accretion and transpressional shearing characterizes the evolution of the Caribbean and northern South American margin since Jurassic times. Quantitative plate tectonic reconstructions of the area do not include Jurassic-Cretaceous back-arc terranes of which there are both geologica...
Article
Full-text available
Mantle convection shapes Earth's surface by generating dynamic topography. Observational constraints and regional convection models suggest that surface topography could be sensitive to mantle flow for wavelengths as short as 1,000 km and 250 km, respectively. At these spatial scales, surface processes including sedimentation and relative sea‐level...
Article
Full-text available
Full text: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674987118301373 (open access) Abstract: Detailed global plate motion models that provide a continuous description of plate boundaries through time are an effective tool for exploring processes both at and below the Earth’s surface. A new generation of numerical models of mantle dyna...
Article
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Some changes in the topography of eastern China since Late Jurassic times cannot be well explained by lithospheric deformation. Here we analyze global mantle flow models to investigate how mantle-driven long-wavelength topography may have contributed to shaping the surface topography of eastern China. Paleodrainage directions suggest that a southwa...
Article
Traditional plate reconstruction methodologies do not allow for plate deformation to be considered. Here we present software to construct and visualize global tectonic reconstructions with deforming plates within the context of rigid plates. Both deforming and rigid plates are defined by continuously evolving polygons. The deforming regions are tes...
Article
Full-text available
Whether the latitudinal distribution of climate-sensitive lithologies is stable through greenhouse and icehouse regimes remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that the palaeolatitudinal distribution of palaeoclimate indicators, including coals, evaporites, reefs and carbonates, has remained broadly similar since the Permian period, leading to th...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Southeast Asia experienced a complex tectonic and geodynamic history related to the subduction of the eastern Tethyan ocean basins, resulting from the long-term convergence between the Indo-Australian, Eurasian, and Pacific plates since Pangea breakup. The complex collage of continental and island arc terranes can be reconstructed into an estimated...
Article
Full-text available
Paleogeographic reconstructions are important to understand Earth's tectonic evolution, past eustatic and regional sea level change, paleoclimate and ocean circulation, deep Earth resources and to constrain and interpret the dynamic topography predicted by mantle convection models. Global paleogeographic maps have been compiled and published, but t...
Article
Full-text available
Tectonic plates and plate boundaries migrate substantially through time and mantle plumes are generally accepted to be mobile within the convecting mantle, but it has been proposed that large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVPs) could have been fixed and rigid for as much as 540 million years (Myr). The hypotheses of fixed and rigid LLSVPs cannot...
Preprint
Full-text available
Whether the latitudinal distribution of climate-sensitive lithologies are stable through greenhouse and icehouse regimes remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that the paleolatitudinal distribution of paleoclimate indicators, including coals, evaporites, reefs and carbonates, have remained broadly similar since Permian times, leading to the con...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mantle convection contributes to shaping Earth's surface by generating dynamic topography. Recent observational constraints on present-day residual topography suggest that surface topography is sensitive to mantle flow down to about 1,000 km scale. At this scale, surface processes such as erosion, sedimentation and relative sea-level change, have s...
Article
The paleogeography of New Guinea indicates fluctuating periods of flooding and emergence since the Jurassic, which are inconsistent with estimates of global sea level change since the Eocene. The role of deep Earth dynamics in explaining these discrepancies has not been explored, despite the strongly time-dependent geodynamic setting within which N...
Article
Even though it is well accepted that the Earth's surface topography has been affected by mantle-convection induced dynamic topography, its magnitude and time-dependence remain controversial. The dynamic influence to topographic change along continental margins is particularly difficult to unravel, because their stratigraphic record is dominated by...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Quantifying the interaction between surface processes and tectonics/deep Earth processes is one important aspect of landscape evolution modelling. Both observations and results from numerical modelling indicate that dynamic topography-a surface expression of time-varying mantle convection-plays a significant role in shaping landscape through geolog...
Preprint
Full-text available
Paleogeographic reconstructions are important to understand Earth's tectonic evolution, past eustatic and regional sea level change, hydrocarbon genesis, and to constrain and interpret the dynamic topography predicted by time-dependent global mantle convection models. Several global paleogeographic maps have been compiled and published but they are...
Article
Full-text available
Northern Africa underwent widespread inundation during the Late Cretaceous. Changes in eustasy do not explain the absence of this inundation across the remainder of Africa and the timing and location of documented tectonic deformation does not explain the large-scale paleogeographic evolution. We investigate the combined effects of vertical surface...
Article
Full-text available
The present-day seismic structure of the mantle under the North Atlantic Ocean indicates that the Iceland hotspot represents the surface expression of a deep mantle plume, which is thought to have erupted in the North Atlantic domain during the Palaeocene. The spatial and temporal evolution of the plume since its eruption is still highly debated, a...
Data
Evolution of a model plume erupting at 150 Ma. Plume initiation, evolution and eruption age in a given model depend on the initial model condition and start-time of the model. The non-dimensional temperature field above layer averages, T, is plotted as isosurfaces (colored by non-dimensional temperature) in the range 0.08–0.3. The top 200 km is exc...
Conference Paper
It is generally accepted that the stratigraphic evolution on continental margins results from the interplay of numerous processes, including eustasy, tectonics and sediment supply. Recent research suggests that dynamic topography – the surface expression of time-varying deep Earth processes – also has profound effects on stratigraphic architecture...
Article
The breakup of Pangea in the Jurassic saw the opening of major ocean basins at the expense of older Tethyan and Pacific oceanic plates. Although the Tethyan seafloor spreading history has been lost to subduction, proxy indicators from multiple generations of Tethyan ribbon terranes, as well as the active margin geological histories of volcanism and...
Preprint
The breakup of Pangea in the Jurassic saw the opening of major ocean basins at the expense of older Tethyan and Pacific oceanic plates. Although the Tethyan seafloor spreading history has been lost to subduction, proxy indicators from multiple generations of Tethyan ribbon terranes and the active margin geological histories of volcanism and ophioli...
Preprint
Full-text available
The present-day seismic structure of the mantle under the North Atlantic indicates that the Iceland hotspot represents the surface expression of a deep mantle plume, which is thought to have erupted in the North Atlantic during the Paleocene. The spatial and temporal evolution of the plume since its eruption is still highly debated, and little is k...
Article
Full-text available
The Sundaland continental promontory, as the core of Southeast Asia, is one of the lowest lying continental regions, with half of the continental area presently inundated by a shallow sea. The role of mantle convection in driving long-wavelength topography and vertical motion of the lithosphere in this region has often been ignored when interpretin...
Article
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View video animations for this paper on the EarthByte Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa41IQEhmmuXmz9J6iMfsnA Age progressive volcanic hotspot tracks are typical surface expressions of plate tectonic movement atop narrow plumes of hot material within the Earth’s mantle1. Seismic imaging reveals that these plumes can be of deep o...
Article
Full-text available
The pace of scientific discovery is being transformed by the availability of 'big data' and open access, open source software tools. These innovations open up new avenues for how scientists communicate and share data and ideas with each other and with the general public. Here, we describe our efforts to bring to life our studies of the Earth system...
Data
Modelled topography of the eastern Australian highlands since 150 million years ago. The model is based on a coupled plate tectonic-mantle convection model run on the Australian high performance computer Raijin (http://nci.org.au/systems-services/na...). The model shows that the time-dependent interaction of plate motion with mantle downwellings an...