Welcome to UWGeodynamics’s documentation!

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The UWGeodynamics module intents to facilitate rapid prototyping of geodynamics models using Underworld. It can be seen as a set of high-level functions within the Underworld ecosystem. It is a means to quickly get the user into Underworld modelling and assumes very little knowledge in coding. The module make some assumptions based on how the user defines the boundary conditions and the properties of the materials (rocks, phases). Its simplicity comes with a relatively more rigid workflow (compared to the classic Underworld functions). However, the user can easily break the high level objects and get back to core Underworld function at any step of model design.

The UWGeodynamics is inspired by the Lithospheric Modelling Recipe (LMR) originally developed by Luke Mondy, Guillaume Duclaux and Patrice Rey for Underworld 1. Some of the naming conventions have been reused to facilitate the transition from LMR. The Rheological libraries are also taken from LMR.

As we think the low-level interface is more flexible, and in so allows for more complex models, we strongly encourage users to explore and break the High Level functions.

We hope that the user will naturally move to the low-level functionalities as he or her gets more confident, and by doing so will access the wide range of possibilities offered by Underworld.

UWGeodynamics and Underworld

UWGeodynamics uses the Underworld_ Application Programming Interface (API). Both projects are supported by The Underworld development team led by Louis Moresi and based in Melbourne, Australia at the University of Melbourne and at Monash University.

Underworld and UWGeodynamics both provide powerful tools to develop numerical geodynamic models. But their approaches are different: UWGeodynamics largely guides users into a way of doing things. The Underworld API provides a series of tools and components (Mesh, Mesh variables, system of equations, functions) and leaves the responsibility to arrange those components to the user. The main advantage of the Underworld API is its flexibility. The main inconvenient resides in a somewhat steeper learning curve. UWGeodynamics components are designed to be more natural to non-experimented numerical modellers or people with little knowledge in programming. It is a way to quickly get started and design numerical models. Developing complex models can also be facilitated by the UWGeodynamics high-level interface as it requires less time and less involvement with the details of the Underworld API.

The two approaches are complementary and mixing the two approaches is possible and highly encouraged.


Since version 1.0 The Underworld development team has decided to match the UWGeodynamics version number with the latest supported version of Underworld. UWGeodynamics v2.7 is then supporing Underworld up to version 2.7.

The third number is used for UWGeodynamics only (v2.7.1, v2.7.2 etc.)

The development branch is based on the current Underworld development branch.

Quick Start / Testing

We provide a docker container via binder_. This is a quick solution to get you started and run the examples and tutorials without installing anything on your machine. That is a good way to see if the software can actually be useful to you. The ressource are however limited and you should not try to run model with high resolution. 3D models can not be run in the binder.