Quick use of PecubeGUI

This part aims to provide a quick overview on how to provide paramaters to run Pecube as is usually done with a terminal. For more details about extended tools provided with PecubeGUI, please refer to Extended usage.

Create a new Pecube project

To create and run a new Pecube project, go to New input file or press Crtl+N (3, see Introduction), a widow pops up and ask you to provide the name of the new project (Figure 2). After clicking the “Ok” button (Figure 2), you will be able to provide and set all the Pecube input parameters for your project.


Figure 2. Enter a new project name. This window shows up when clicking on the “New input file” action.

The window should look like the Figure 3. On the top left, you could find and access all the projects you have loaded into the interface, and thus navigate through their respective parameters. The right part of the interface will host extra input parameters described in Extended usage.


Figure 3. Tab to set up the input parameters for Pecube. On the top left, you can check the name of your project (here: ‘PeGUI’)

The input parameters are gathered into categories similar to what is found in the Pecube’s user guide. All the parameters are sorted in 8 categories: Topography, Time evolution, Thermal, Data, Tectonic, Isostasy, Inversion, and Output parameters. For more details on the meaning of each input parameter please refer to the Pecube’s user guide. However, you could access to a short description of each parameter by simply flying the mouse cursor over the parameter labels. After one second a text should appears and describe the parameter.

Provide input parameters

Topography tab

When providing the project name, you will automatically be directed to the first tab that shows the “Topography” parameters (Figure 3). All the default values of the input parameters are displayed, so that you do not need to provide them if you want to keep these default values. If you wish to change a parameter, simply click on the text box, and write your value.
PecubeGUI offers the possibility to simply load topographic file(s), you could find more details in Extended usage.
When loading a synthetic numerical model, you can let the latitude and longitude to zero. However, you need to provide the stepping distance in x (Δlon) and y (Δlat). For simplicity, you can provide the values in km and then click on ‘Convert to lat/long’ button (Figure 3). This will automatically convert the values to longitude and latitude distances that can be read by Pecube. Finally, you are able to check the topography you provided by clicking on “Show topography” (Figure 3). A new tab then appears on the right-hand side of the interface (Figure 4). This tab serves to visualize the topography and check your topography evolution scenario as provided in the Time evolution tab. For this, simply grab and drag the slide bar in “Set time evolution” (Figure 4).

Time evolution tab

In this tab (Figure 4) you can provide all the parameters that control the time evolution of the Pecube model. In PecubeGUI you can provide the time evolution parameters (cf. “time_topo”,” amplification”, “offset”, and “output”) by filling in the table or by copying/pasting values from an excel file to the table. The number of rows in the table automatically adapts to the value written in the parameter “ntime” (Figure 4). You can also set the reference elevation from which to scale the input topography.


Figure 4. “Time evolution” tab where to provide parameters related to the time evolution of the topography.

The default value for each parameter is also automatically provided.

Thermal tab

In the Thermal tab, you will find all the parameters to set the thermal properties of the crust and the atmosphere. In PecubeGUI, the user is able to check for the 1D steady-state geotherm by simply clicking on “Show Geotherm” (see Extended usage for more details).

Tectonic tab

This tab is related to the “Tectonic parameters” in the Pecube user guide. At the top of the tab you have to choose between three options:
  • no uplift: compute the effect of topographic change only on thermal field

  • bloc uplift: vertical movement of the entire domain

  • faulting: slip rate along fault(s)

According to the option chosen, you will have access to different parts of the tab. For a bloc uplift, you can define the magnitude of the uplift rate at each corner of the model domain (i.e., bottom left, bottom right, top left, and top right). The uplift history is defined by the number of step (i.e., ‘nstep’) and the time window defined in the table below.
When faulting is chosen, the button’ ‘set faults’ is enabled. Clicking on it open a window where you can define your fault(s) geometry. You need to provide the number of faults (‘nfaults’), the number of geometry points defining each fault (‘npoints’), and the coordinates of the two points that define the strike of the faults (see Pecube’s documentation for more details). Then you can define the geometry of the fault(s) by setting the position and depth of each geometry point according to the position of strike of the fault.


  1. To define the type of fault, we keep on the convention described in the Pecube’s documentation. To define a thrust the velocity has to be negative, a positive velocity means a normal fault (i.e., ‘velo’ in the table).

  2. The order you define the position of the points of the fault(s) matters. The convention is that the fault geometry is defined to the right of the strike of the fault (see Pecube’s documentation for more details)


Figure 5. “Tectonic” tab where to provide parameters related to kinematic of rock uplift.

Data tab

This tab enables the user to set the outputs he/she wants that Pecube provides at the end of the model run. The first part (i.e., “Compute ages”) let you choose between three options:

  • none: Pecube will not predict any thermochronological ages

  • for all nodes: Pecube will predict thermochronological ages for all nodes at the surface of the Pecube model.

  • sample specific: Pecube will predict thermochronological ages only for specific sample locations provided by the user. For this option to work, you will need to provide a folder name where PecubeGUI will write some files that will be used by the Production-diffusion model. This has to be done in the Data tab in the “Data folder” text box.

Fore more details on how to provide parameters to predict ages at specific locations, see Extended usage.

The remaining tabs do not need detailed descriptions. Simply fill the text boxes with your new values. The details for each input parameters can be found in the Pecube user guide, and short descriptions can be seen when flying the mouse cursor over the label of each parameter.

Run a Pecube model

To run a Pecube model, simply click on “Run Pecube” above the tabs (Figure 5). A new window pops up. According to your Preferences (cf. ‘2’, Figure 1) the latter will only show a progress bar of the Pecube run or additional information are provided if the console is enabled. When the console is allowed to be shown, the state of the runs is written within it. At the end of the Pecube run, this window displays ‘Pecube run is finished!’ and you can click on the ‘Ok’ button to close the window.


When several projects are opened, the consoles are gathered in a single window to have a quick overview of all the running simulations.