Display a tracer on moving plates

On GPlates, is it possible to specify a tracer as input data with latitude and longitude on moving continental or oceanic plates from the Pangea era to the present and output the distance of the moved tracer over the elapsed time?

Hi Masaki,

For the tracer you could create a Motion Path. And the smaller the time interval used in the motion path the more accurate will be the traced path.

Outputting the distance of the path is more complicated. There is a Measure tool that can measure the total length of a polyline, but it doesn’t measure a motion path (it only measure regular features, not motion paths or flow lines). A workaround is to digitize of polyline that overlaps the path of motion and measure that instead. If you just need a rough idea of the distance then it can be fairly quick to digitise an overlapping polyline (and then switch to the Measure tool without even creating a new polyline feature).

If you need a more accurate distance then pyGPlates can be used for that. Something like this motion path example but also calculating the distance between the motion path points using this distance function (here’s a general example of using that distance function, not involving motion paths).

Thank you, John! I will try it.