PaleoDEMs: Map the Earth’s Changing Topography Over the last 540 Million Years


Users can download paleogeographic datasets reconstructing paleotopography and paleobathymetry dating back to 540 millions years ago.  The series of digital elevation models represent topographic changes in land surface and ocean depth at 5 million year intervals.  The work is the result of Christopher Scortese’s  PALEOMAP Project (2003–2013).

The paleographic data has been made available for downloading in two formats.  The series of CSV files contains latitude, longitude, and elevation value for each grid point.  In 2017, the text files were converted by Nicky Wrigh into NetCDF format.

Produced with a resolution of 1 x 1 degrees, a future release of PaleoDEMS will include intermediary 0.5 x 0.5 resolution grids.  More detail about the creation of PaleoDEMS is outline in the report, PALEOMAP Paleodigital Elevation Models (PaleoDEMS) for the Phanerozoic.  The authors note that users are  “are welcome to freely use the 1° x 1° paleoDEMS for your own research projects, presentations, and publications.”

To download the data visit:

The work:

Scotese, C.R., and Wright, N., 2018. PALEOMAP Paleodigital Elevation Models
(PaleoDEMS) for the Phaerozoic PALEOMAP Project, https://www.earthbyte.org/paleodem-resourcescotese-and-wright-2018

Reconstructed Earth from 542 million years ago. Scortese, PaleoMap Project.

Reconstructed Earth from 542 million years ago. Scortese, PaleoMap Project.

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