Paleogeography: a new model for revising coastlines with fossil data


Paleogeography: a new model for revising coastlines with fossil data

The use of fossil data to revise published paleogeographic maps is well established (Cao et al., 2017) and can constrain the maximum marine transgression extent during a certain geological interval. However, the workflow can involve a significant amount of manual labor when the number of inconsistent fossil localities is large, and the results may be difficult to reproduce.

To address these issues, DDE has developed a new model to automate the revision process based on Boolean operations and geometric buffering techniques. Users can specify model parameters such as fossil filter distance and inconsistent area generation distance. The fossil filter distance is the maximum distance from the shoreline on the paleogeographic map to determine if a marine fossil data point should be used. The inconsistent area generation distance specifies the area affected by any inconsistent fossil data.  Users can experiment with various parameter combinations and choose the optimal setup. More importantly, the model provides data provenance, which is crucial for anyone who is interested in the underlying data or reproducing the maps. Therefore, this model represents an important step towards a reproducible, data- and model-driven paleogeographic reconstruction.

A. Manual revision of coastlines for the Wuchiapingian Age based on fossil data from Paleobiology Database (PBDB) (Kocsis and Scotese, 2021). B. Automated revision using the newly-developed DDE. Note the broad similarities between the two methods.

Link: Search for the model name: "PaleoCoastline Correct"



Cao, W., Zahirovic, S., Flament, N., Williams, S., Golonka, J., and Müller, R.D., 2017, Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology: Biogeosciences, v. 14, p. 5425–5439, doi:10.5194/bg-14-5425-2017.

Kocsis, Á.T., and Scotese, C.R., 2021, Mapping paleocoastlines and continental flooding during the Phanerozoic: Earth-Science Reviews, v. 213, p. 103463, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103463.

van Hinsbergen, D.J.J., de Groot, L.V., van Schaik, S.J., Spakman, W., Bijl, P.K., Sluijs, A., Langereis, C.G., and Brinkhuis, H., 2015, A Paleolatitude Calculator for Paleoclimate Studies: PLOS ONE, v. 10, p. e0126946, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126946.