Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE)

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Duration:  From 2021 (Ongoing)

Funding Source:  International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)


Project Summary / Brief Description

The Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) Program is the first 'big science program' initiated by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) that will provide new opportunities and directions for the development of Earth Sciences.

The primary goal of the DDE program is to harmonize 'deep-time' digital geological data. Deep-time data are data relating to the changing processes that the Earth has experienced through the millions of years of geological time. They include data on the evolution of life and climate, tectonic plate movement and the evolution of the planet's geography. Through DDE, data will be made available in easily used 'hubs' providing insights into the distribution and value of Earth resources and materials, as well as Earth hazards. Data brought together in new ways may provide novel glimpses into the Earth's geological past and its future.

Southeast Asia Task Group (SEA-TG)

Working Groups (WG) are the working force of DDE which provide DDE’s Executive Committee (EC) with the operational capabilities to manage the program and to support individual DDE projects. Task groups (TG) are established by the EC for implementing specific tasks or projects usually within a limited time duration.

One of DDE’s TGs is the Southeast Asia Task Group (SEA-TG), co-chaired by CCOP and China’s Sun Yat-sen University.



During 2021-2023, our task group will collect observations and findings from structural geology, geophysics, geochemistry, chronology, sedimentology, and numerical simulation in SE Asia, South China Sea, and adjacent regions. We will establish a database of tectonic and disaster events in this region including major (M>6) land earthquakes, subduction zone earthquakes, volcanic activities, submarine landslides, and tsunami events. Based on the database, we further make in-depth analysis, e.g., compiling a 200-year earthquake cycle along the Sumatran subduction zone and reproducing all the major tsunami events based on fault models of tsunamigenic earthquakes,  We will explore the correlation and organization between morphomorphic images and physical mechanisms, and study the coupling of major geological disasters such as earthquake-landslide-tsunami in SE Asia. We try to realize the imaging of detectable morphomorphic processes and give multi-dimensional distributions of geological disasters in this region, in order to dock with the DDE platform. Using artificial intelligence algorithm, we can obtain a variety of scattered geological data from various sources, make standard digital, structured processing, and construct a unified database. We will build an entriesable visualization site which integrates terrain, geological, and other geographic data into a Cesium-based 3D digital earth, which allows us to browse a variety of data through layer management. The geo-literature retrieval engine will be built based on simple keywords (e.g. country, longitude and latitude, geological attributes), which enables users to search for the corresponding literature and visualize data through a variety of geological properties.

Our group will organize an annual seminar in conjunction with one of CCOP’s workshops or meetings. It will be a half day seminar with participants from the CCOP member countries.  Relevant DDE Working Group members as well as experts from the CCOP member countries will be invited as lecturers.  Report of the seminar will be produced electronically.



The tectonic framework of Southeast Asia is the result of global geological evolution since the Paleozoic and therefore document the evolution history of Tethys and Pacific Oceans. Our task group will target the SE Asia and investigate a series of fundamental geodynamic processes including the reconstruction of ancient tectonic plates and the initiation of subduction under the framework of DDE. In addition, we try to explore the application of artificial intelligence, deep learning and other technologies in earth sciences, and develop a new geological big data-based indexing platform.

In collaboration with CCOP data compilation projects, and the DDE Southeast Asia Task Group, CCOP will hold an annual seminar entitled “Keys Towards Advancing from Data Compilation to Analytics, Integration, and Decision Support” to give and enhance ideas, solutions and technologies for the Southeast Asian countries to increase efficiency in the use of the acquired digital data relevant to DDE for an effective impact to science and decision-making.

Data harmonization and adoption of international standards have been a challenge among geoscientists in Southeast Asia.  Through this seminar, importance of data harmonization and adoption of international standard can be highlighted in enabling use of current technologies for efficient analytics towards effective decision making and science impact.



Seminar on Keys Towards Advancing from Data Compilation to Analytics, Integration, and Decision Support

The Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in Southeast Asia (CCOP) is an intergovernmental organization presently comprising of 16 member countries – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.  For over 50 years, it has facilitated various geoscientific activities in the region.  From the onset of digital technology, CCOP has implemented digital map and database compilation projects on various geoscientific themes.  The digital data acquired from these projects are mostly stored and distributed in compact discs (CDs).  

Together with experts from Sun Yat-sen University, China, the Southeast Asia Working Group for DDE will focus on the tectonic evolution, natural resources, and disasters in the South-east (SE) Asia, South China Sea, and adjacent regions. Multidisciplinary observations and findings including chronologic, geochemistry, and sedimentary data will be compiled and a synthesis of these data using big data techniques will be made. These data will lay key foundation for many crucial scientific topics, e.g. the tempo-spatial evolution of magmatism, deep magma processes, and deformation history of Tethys in the Paleozoic-Cenozoic. The ring subduction results in the world's largest tectonic earthquake and most active volcanic activity zone in the region. Space geodetic techniques (e.g. InSAR/GPS) will be utilized to restore the modern surface deformation processes in the SE Asia and its surroundings, which would further constrain the regional tectonic evolution. At the same time, marine geo-hazards such as submarine earthquakes, landslides, and tsunamis in this region will be investigated. Their tectonic backgrounds, mechanism, and long-term activities will be studied, major geological disaster events will be reexamined, and a database of geo-hazards with deep-time characteristics in SE Asia will be established.

At the same time, Sun Yat-sen University, China will develop advanced computer techniques which can help improve our understandings of the above-mentioned scientific issues by learning from datasets and findings of other tectonic processes globally. These techniques will assist researchers to easily assess, search and dig data for potential internal correlations between the different datasets. All the the datasets will be managed in an integrated web-based system, which can provide a bunch of functionalities within a geographic framework. The datasets and information to be generated from the group will be finally readable for the DDE platform.

With the onset of new technologies such as Big Data and Cloud Computing, it is imperative for Southeast Asian countries to address the use of data compiled to impact science and decision-making in the most efficient and effective ways adopting these technologies while maintaining flexibility to the impending fourth industrial revolution.

The annual seminar will be organized in conjunction with one of CCOP’s workshops or meetings. It will be a half day seminar with participants from the CCOP member countries.  Relevant DDE Working/Task Group members as well as experts from the CCOP member countries will be invited as lecturers.  Report of the seminar will be produced electronically.

At this seminar, experts from Sun Yat-sen University, China will make a presentation on the collected observations and findings in the fields of tectonic geology, geophysics, geochemistry, thermochronology, sedimentary, and numerical simulation in SE Asia, the South China Sea, and adjacent regions, provide deformation measurements of typical geological events and their physical interpretation, build up a tsunami hazard database by considering different fault rupture models along the Sumatran subduction zone in the past 200 years, explore the structured attribute description of geological data, use artificial intelligence algorithms to assemble geological data from various ways, carry out standard digital, structured processing and construct a unified database.