Basin GENESIS Hub – GEodyNamics and Evolution of SedImentary Systems



The ARC Research Hub for Basin Geodynamics and Evolution of Sedimentary Systems (Basin Genesis Hub) is a showcase of connecting “Big Data” analysis and high-performance computing in an open innovation framework. The hub will fuse multidimensional data into 5D basin models (space and time, with uncertainty estimates) by coupling the evolution of mantle flow, crustal deformation, erosion and sedimentary processes using open-source modelling tools.
The project will develop quantitative, cutting edge data analysis techniques to underpin the testing of new concepts for understanding basin structures, and aid in driving sustainable use of basin resources. The development of new high-performance simulation and data mining tools, making use of new petascale computing capabilities, will connect big, multidimensional data sets to cutting edge machine learning and modelling algorithms to cross a wide spectrum of spatial and temporal scales. These new approaches will help address a variety of issues in the context of basin structure and evolution for sustainable deep and shallow earth resource extraction and management.


Basin GENESIS Hub Core Members

Aims and background

Sedimentary basins capture Earth’s sea level, climate history, and the variation of the surface topography due to geodynamic, tectonic, and surface processes. They host a range of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon resources of critical importance for the continued functioning of modern society. We increasingly rely on the same basins for oil, gas, geothermal energy, and water, and managing these competing uses requires much greater sophistication. For both exploration and resource extraction, we need much better knowledge of the structure, evolution, and state of every basin. This requires a much better understanding of the processes that form, deform, and fill the basins.
The overarching objective of the Basin GENESIS Hub is to understand the diversity of fundamental feedbacks between crustal deformation, mantle flow and sediment transport at the scale of sedimentary systems, and to transform this new body of knowledge into an exploration tool. Our interactive Digital Atlas in 5 dimensions (space, time, uncertainty) will allow the oil and gas industry to (a) probe a wide range of synthetic sedimentary basins for insights into their dynamic history and potential exploration targets, and (b) iteratively refine and optimise via data assimilation sets of models to guide exploration and improve success rates. For this purpose, we will address the following specific questions of basin geophysics and geology:

  • How do the histories of deformation, magmatism, surface uplift/subsidence, and erosion and sedimentation determine the origin and evolution of drainage patterns and sediment accumulation in basins; and how can we design massive data-mining and simulation runs to quantify and deconvolve these effects as an integrated system?
  • How can we understand and model common processes in basins around the globe – particularly those in exploration frontiers – under a wide variety of surface conditions, plate-tectonic configurations, and mantle conditions?
  • What are the feedback loops between crustal deformation and erosion/deposition during successive phases of deformation, and how are these feedbacks expressed in the complexities of basin stratigraphy?
  • How can we identify and evaluate ensembles of models to quantify key parameters of basin evolution and their uncertainties?

The Hub’s partners are the University of Melbourne, Curtin University, The California Institute of Technology, Geoscience Australia, and five national and international industry partners.


A combination of a time-dependent dynamic topography model for the Australian continent with a Badlands surface erosion and sedimentation model can be used to predict the sedimentary history and sediment thickness in major depocentres. The map at the top shows a snapshot of modelled Australian river systems, simulated over a time period of 100 million years, with the map in the lower left showing modelled sediment accumulation in the Ceduna Basin in the eastern Great Australian Bight. The observed Ceduna Basin stratigraphy (from Geoscience Australia) is shown at the bottom.


Underworld extension and salt tectonic model: density structure (top), deviatoric stress (middle), and strain rate (bottom) at different stages. Inset: synthetic seismic profile derived from the simulation using the RSF Madagascar software.

Basin Genesis Hub Collaborators


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Professor Dietmar Müller
Professor Dietmar Müller is Professor of Geophysics and held anAustralian Laureate Fellowship funded by the Australian Research Council until 2014. He has a PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and joined the University of Sydney in 1993. In 2006, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Associate Professor Patrice Rey
Deputy Director
Associate Professor Patrice Rey is an internationally-recognised expert in structural geology and tectonics. He has a PhD from Joseph Fourier University, France and joined the University of Sydney in 2004. In 2014, he was elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.