Hi and welcome on this page! Here, you can download the source files behind reconstructions of active margin deformation zones that I have published with my colleagues over the last years. If you use these files, please give reference to the proper publications, as detailed below.

My reconstructions are made with GPlates free software, and are embedded in the global plate kinematic reconstruction of Seton et al., 2012 that is the default reconstruction in GPlates.
GPlates works with two types of files: a shape file that defines the polygons, or lines that are reconstructed through time (.gpml format), and rotation files that define how those polygons or lines move relative through each other over the globe through time (.rot). Here, you can download my renditions of these (click here for a zip file with all files).

Shape files

First, I have modified the files of Seton et al. (2012) and deleted the polygons in areas that I have reconstructed in more detail. These modified files can be downloaded here:


India-Arabia-Asia collision zone

A reconstruction shape file for the India-Arabia-Asia collision zone contains reconstructions for Tibet and Indochina as published in van Hinsbergen et al. (2011), for the Himalaya as published in van Hinsbergen et al. (2012), for the Zagros and Iranian plateau as published in McQuarrie and van Hinsbergen (2013) and as paleomagnetically tested in Huang et al. (2015), and for SE Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan as published in Gaina et al. (2015):


Mediterranean region

I have finished a reconstruction of the Mediterranean region since the Triassic, and we are currently preparing a manuscript, expected to be submitted in the fall of 2017. Once accepted, all files will be made available. For now, parts of the Mediterranean reconstruction have been published, including western Anatolia as published in van Hinsbergen (2010), the Aegean region as published in van Hinsbergen and Schmid (2012), the SW Mediterranean region as published in van Hinsbergen et al. (2014) and Corsica-Sardinia as published in Advokaat et al. (2014). These are contained in:


Caribbean region

Here, You can download the reconstruction shape files for the Caribbean region, as published in Boschman et al. (2014):


(Circum)-Pacific region

Currently, we are in the process of publishing GPlates reconstructions of the Scotia Sea area, the Andes, the Southwest Pacific region, far-east Asia, western North America, and Alaska, files for which will be made available once the publications about them are accepted.

Rotation file

Reconstruction Tree


I have summarized all rotations for all reconstructions of which you can download the .gpml files above in one ‘master’ rotation file. This file is based on the rotation file of Seton et al. (2012) and follows their rotations for the major continents. Seton et al.’s plate ID’s are typically three-digit codes (hundreds), wheres the plate ID’s I used are typically four digits (thousands, 2000 series for the Caribbean, 3000 series for the Mediterranean, 7000 series for India-Asia), so it should be relatively straightforward to judge which rotations are mine and which are based on Seton et al. (2012).

The combined rotations of Seton et al (2012) and our work define a relative global plate circuit, all eventually reconstructed relative to a South African reference (plate ID 701), which is the standard approach in plate reconstructions. This reconstruction tree is then placed in an absolute reference frame, of which several types exist, each tailored towards specific Earth scientific problems.

Below, you can download the vanHinsbergen_master.rot file in seven different reference frames. The first four are mantle reference frames, to be used for geodynamic studies: these frames place the global plate circuit in a position relative to the Earth’s mantle, using different models. The final three are paleomagnetic reference frames, to be used for paleomagnetic and paleoclimate studies. These place the global plate circuit in a position relative to the Earth’s spin axis. The main difference between these two types of frames is that mantle reference frames do not include the effects of true polar wander (i.e. the joint motion of mantle and lithosphere relative to the spin axis) and paleomagnetic reference frames do include those effects. For more information and explanation of which reference frames are appropriate for which type of study, see van Hinsbergen et al. (2015) and www.paleolatitude.org.

Global plate circuit in mantle reference frames:


vanHinsbergen_master_vanderMeer_slab_frame.rot for the slab reference frame of van der Meer et al. (2010) (my default)
vanHinsbergen_master_Doubrovine_hotspot_frame.rot for the global moving hotspot reference frame of Doubrovine et al. (2012)
vanHinsbergen_master_O’Neill_hotspot_frame.rot for the Indo-Atlantic moving hotspot reference frame of O’Neill et al. (2005) (GPlates default)
vanHinsbergen_master_Torsvik_TPWcorrected_paleomagnetic_frame.rot for the true polar wander corrected paleomagnetic reference frame of Torsvik et al. (2012) (NB, no paleolongitude control!; NB2: updated January 2017, previous (small) error corrected)

Global plate circuit in Paleomagnetic reference frames:


vanHinsbergen_master_Torsvik_paleomagnetic_frame.rot for the paleomagnetic reference frame of Torsvik et al. (2012) (my default)
vanHinsbergen_master_BesseCourtillot_paleomagnetic_frame.rot for the paleomagnetic reference frame of Besse and Courtillot (2002)
vanHinsbergen_master_KentIrving_paleomagnetic_frame.rot for the paleomagnetic reference frame of Kent and Irving (2010)



In addition to the reconstruction files listed above, I have made a few movies that can be used for teaching or outreach purposes and that you may find useful:

India-Arabia-Asia movie
Caribbean movie
Mediterranean movie
Aegean movie
Western Mediterranean movie

Global tomography and subduction zone reconstructions


Over the last years, we have published several papers on a compilation of lower mantle slab remnants, and used this to develop mantle reference frames (van der Meer et al. 2010), improve oceanic plate reconstructions (van der Meer et al., 2012), and quantitatively assess the influence of geodynamic processes on climate evolution (van der Meer et al., 2014). Much of this information is now included in the Atlas of the Underworld, but GIS files that lay at the basis for the previous papers can be downloaded here: