Louis Moresi bio photo

Louis Moresi

Professor of Geophysics Australian National University Canberra, Australia +61 4 0333 1413

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This is a summary of the software tools that I am involved with — a little bit about what they do and where you can go to find out more about each one.

Work in progress

  • Underworld and UWGeodynamics
  • gLucifer in the cloud: webGL rendering version of the standalone app
  • Quagmire surface process code with parallel/matrix formulation
  • Stripy
  • Spherical Underworld

  • Robust solvers


Underworld: Modular geodynamics modeling code based on a particle-in-cellerator finite element formulation www.underworldcode.org and uw / facebook . High performance, parallel, version of the Ellipsis algorithm developed as a community code with support from Australian infrastructure funding schemes. Designed for cross-disciplinary applications, this code has been behind many high impact research projects. Underworld has been supported by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) Project and benefitted from many Australian Research Council (ARC) grants.

CITCOM: multigrid, 3D Cartesian Finite Element Code for mantle convection (freely available for researchers on request); Parallel and Spherical version available from CIG. Over the past 10 years, the global/spherical version of Citcom has become the mostly widely used community code in computational mantle dynamics.

gLucifer: Finite element analysis and visualization system with emphasis on particle methods (developed in conjunction with the AuScope and VPAC). Highly efficient transfer of information from simulations running on remote parallel supercomputers, server-based rendering etc.

Ellipsis and Ellipsis3d: Particle-in-Cell finite element code for geodynamics (prototype, no longer under active development - 2D/3D version distributed through CIG ).

Badlands: Badlands is a collection of different codes all of which are intended to work with Underworld. Some of the codes are intended to model detailed stratigraphy in basins at relatively short timescale, others are more focused on broad brush descriptions of the interaction between dynamic topography and surface transport / erosion / deposition. This is a collaboration with the University of Sydney and Caltech.


Moresi, L., Dufour, F., and Muhlhaus, H.B., 2002, Mantle convection modeling with viscoelastic/brittle lithosphere: Numerical methodology and plate tectonic modeling: Pure And Applied Geophysics, v. 159, no. 10, p. 2335–2356, doi: 10.1007/s00024-002-8738-3. (Ellipsis)

Moresi, L., Dufour, F., and Muhlhaus, H.B., 2003, A Lagrangian integration point finite element method for large deformation modeling of viscoelastic geomaterials: Journal of Computational Physics, v. 184, no. 2, p. 476–497. (Ellipsis)

Moresi, L., Quenette, S., Lemiale, V., Mériaux, C., Appelbe, W., Mühlhaus, 2007, Computational approaches to studying non-linear dynamics of the crust and mantle: Phys. Earth Planet. Inter, v. 163, p. 69–82, doi: 10.1016/j.pepi.2007.06.009. (Underworld)

Craton Formation and the Onset of Plate Tectonics — (they don’t make them like they used to … )

Shear Bands with Dilatancy modelled with Underworld — In honour of Hans Mühlhaus’ 70th birthday this month, here are some shear band simulations made with Underworld. We are investigating the role of dilatancy in the geometry of the shear bands for a …

Computational Challenges for Continental Dynamics — The December 2015 issue of SIAM news has an article which I wrote as a follow up to a plenary talk I gave at the SIAM Geoscience meeting this (northern) summer.

Gitbucket v. Bithub v. roll-your-own — The days of running a webserver quietly on some machine in the corner are long gone but what happens when you need services like repositories for code management, a user forum and other shared spac…

Cartopy — The cartopy tutorial materials from the python VIEPS course from 2015 are now available on my github teaching page under Mapping. I like the simplicity of this package and I used it to help the cla…

Alaska Moho Model (Reproducible)

Craton Formation and the Onset of Plate Tectonics — (they don’t make them like they used to … )