Modeling and Visualization

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Modeling and Visualization

Tools provide a window into carbon in deep Earth

Modern computational tools make it possible to understand and visualize aspects of how Earth works. The speed at which these technologies have improved over the last 5-10 years is mind-boggling. We can now do things in a virtual world that once were unimaginable. The Deep Carbon Observatory is taking full advantage of these tools and creating others to provide a more complete picture of how Earth works.
Early in 2016, DCO launched a modeling and visualization project to model deep to surface Earth processes. The goal of this project is to refine or build computational tools to understand and visualize how carbon is transported from the interior to the atmosphere of our planet and back again.  Through an online open access platform, the Box Earth Recirculation and Recycling Project for Carbon (BERRP), deep carbon researchers have the latest modeling tools literally at their finger tips.
BERRP offers a planetary-scale ‘box model’ of carbon pathways in deep Earth, which researchers can use to explore key processes such as the role of melting in fluxes, and ways to visualize these carbon pathways.
This project maximizes the many benefits of an open source environment by making new models accessible to the broader scientific community for their own exploration of carbon cycle scenarios.
Check in at BERRP and back here for progress reports on the latest additions to this important site.

How to get involved

Want to learn more about numerical modeling, melt migration, mixing and visualization? Many opportunities exist to learn more about these issues and to share insights with your colleagues. Join a discussion about topics relation to carbon, its reuse and recirculation in Earth's interior. Participate in a Journal Club to review recent deep carbon-related papers.  Or stay tuned for upcoming webinars on how to integrate modeling and visualization into your research.

Team Leader (Louise Kellogg)
University of California Davis, USA

The Principal investigator is Louise Kellogg (UC Davis), a geophysicist with expertise in chemical geodynamics and computational geophysics and experience leading multidisciplinary teams to advance geodynamics modeling and scientific visualization. She is director of the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics, a geoinformatics program supported by the US National Science Foundation to advance Earth science research by developing and disseminating software for geophysics and related fields, and of the W. M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES), which provides expertise on scientific visualization of complex data and models.

Research Team

The core members of the team were selected for their expertise in modeling and visualization as it pertains to geochemical cycles in Earth’s interior, and include scientists who have previously been involved in DCO as well as new expertise.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, the research team anticipates bringing on additional expertise in modeling, visualization, geochemical cycles, carbon geochemistry, and public communication. Participants may include experts in geodynamical modeling and computational experts in scientific visualization, members of the GPlates project, and outreach specialists.

Team Members

Elizabeth Cottrell
Smithsonian Institution, USA
A petrologist with expertise in planetary volatile cycles as well as considerable experience in informal learning and public science literacy.

Mark Ghiorso
OFM Research, WA, USA
A petrologist with expertise in computational thermodynamics of melt and high‐temperature aqueous fluids.

Lorraine Hwang
University of California Davis, USA
An expert in managing interdisciplinary science and technology projects related to geophysics and energy, with expertise in open software development environments.

Richard Katz
University of Oxford, UK
A geophysicist with expertise in computational modeling of mantle melting and melt transport.

Sujoy Mukhopadhyay
University of California Davis, USA
An isotope geochemist who is an expert on noble gases, chemical cycles in the mantle, statistical box models, and the connection of geodynamics and geochemical models.


21 October, 2017
Darlene Trew Crist, Synthesis Group 2019 manager

Louise Kellogg will lead a modeling and visualization workshop at DCO's Third Annual Science Meeting at the University of St. Andrews, 24 March 2017. The workshop will include demonstrations and hands-on application of modelling tools and capabilities under development by DCO investigators. Mark Ghiorso and Dimitri Sjerensky will explain how to apply the MELTS-DEW model to researchers' data. Bob Hazen and Shaunna Morrison will reveal their exciting new work creating "Mineral Networks," by modeling mineral evolution and diversity.

31 October, 2016
Darlene Trew Crist, Synthesis Group 2019 manager

Conceptual diagram of the spatio-temporal scales of solid-earth components of deep carbon cycle and science domains it spans. Credit: Louise Kellogg, UC Davis.

DCO’s modeling and visualization team is launching a number of initiatives to provide tools for the DCO community to help visualize their scientific results.  Check this online open access platform, the Box Earth Recirculation and Recycling Project for Carbon, regularly to see what has been added. 
Plans are in the works for webinars to teach the DCO Science Network the basics of using these tools as well as for more in-depth webinars about the many and varied options available.
Also check back here regularly as we summarize the latest modeling and visualization offerings.

Further Reading

Burley, J. M. A., & Katz, R. F. (2015). Variations in mid-ocean ridge CO2 emissions driven by glacial cycles. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 426, 246–258. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.06.031

Cottrell, E. (2015) Workshop Report, Toward a 4D Planetary Carbon Model, May 10-13, 2015, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA, report in internal review.

Czujko, R. and M. Henly (2003), Good News & Bad News: Diversity Data in the Geosciences, Geotimes, 9-2003.

Dasgupta, R. and Hirschmann, M.M. (2010) The deep carbon cycle and melting in Earth’s Interior. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 298, 1-13.

Gonnermann, H. M. and S. Mukhopadhyay (2009), Preserving noble gases in a convecting mantle, Nature, 459, 560-563, doi:10.1038/nature08018

Hayden, L. A. and E. B. Watson (2008), Grain boundary mobility of carbon in Earth's mantle: A possible carbon flux from the core, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105 (25) 8537-8541, doi:10.1073/pnas.0710806105


Hazen R.M. and C.M Schiffries (2013), Why Deep Carbon?, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry. doi: 10.2138/rmg.2013.75.1

Kelemen, P. B. and C. E. Manning (2015), Reevaluating carbon fluxes in subduction zones, what goes down, mostly comes up, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published ahead of print June 5, 2015, doi:10.1073/pnas.1507889112

Kellogg, J. B. S. B. Jacobsen, R. J. O'Connell (2007), Modeling lead isotopic heterogeneity in mid- ocean ridge basalts, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 262, (3–4), 328-342,

Kellogg, L.H. and G. J. Wasserburg (1990) The role of plumes in mantle helium fluxes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 99 (3), 276-289

Sleep, N. H., & Zahnle, K. (2001). Carbon dioxide cycling and implications for climate on ancient Earth. JGR: Solid Earth (1978–2012), 106(E1), 1373–1399. doi: 10.1029/2000JE001247