Also known as tAo3D
Model type Single
Model part of larger framework
Note on status model
Date note status model
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 2D, 3D
Spatial extent Continental, Regional-Scale
Model domain Terrestrial, Hydrology, Geodynamic, Climate
One-line model description TISC integrates quantitative models of lithospheric flexure, fault deformation, and surface mass transport (erosion/transport/sedimentation) along drainage networks.
Extended model description TISC is a computer program that simulates the evolution of 3D large-scale sediment transport together with tectonic deformation and lithospheric vertical movements on geological time scales. Particular attention is given to foreland sedimentary basin settings. TISC (formerly called tao3D) stands for Tectonics, Isostasy, Surface Transport, and Climate.
  • hydrology/climate

The drainage river network is calculated following the maximum slope along the evolving topography. Based on the runoff distribution, the water discharge at any cell of the network is calculated as the water collected from tributary cells plus the precipitation at that cell. Lake evaporation is accounted for, enabling the model to study close endorheic basins. Both topography and the network evolves as a result of erosion, sedimentation and tectonic processes.

  • river sediment transport

Sediment carrying capacity is a function of water discharge and slope and determines whether a river is eroding or depositing. Suspended sediments resulting from erosion are transported through the fluvial network until they are deposited or they leave the model domain (explicit mass conservation).

  • lithospheric flexure

A elastic and/or viscoelastic plate approach is used to calculate the vertical movements of the lithosphere caused by the mass redistribution. In the classical lithospheric flexural model, the lithosphere is assumed to rest on a fluid asthenosphere and behave as a thin plate when submitted to external forces.

  • tectonic deformation

Tectonic modification of the relieve and the correspondent loading of the lithosphere are calculated using a cinematic vertical shear approach (preserving the vertical thickness of the moving units during displacement). 


fluvial morphodynamics, geodynamics, Bedrock Erosion, groundwater, isostasy, orographic precipitattion, evaporation, lake,

Name Daniel Garcia Castellanos
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization ICTJA-CSIC
Postal address 1
Postal address 2
Town / City Barcelona
Postal code 08028
Country Spain
Email address

Supported platforms
Unix, Linux, Mac OS
Other platform
Programming language


Other program language
Code optimized Single Processor
Multiple processors implemented
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 1997
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status Only maintenance
When did you indicate the 'code development status'? 2020
Model availability As code, As teaching tool
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type GPL v3
Program license type other
Memory requirements 32 GB
Typical run time minutes to days

Describe input parameters see software documentation
Input format ASCII
Other input format
Describe output parameters
Output format ASCII
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? No
Describe pre-processing software
Post-processing software needed? No
Describe post-processing software
Visualization software needed? No
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software

Describe processes represented by the model TISC is a geodynamic numerical model combining computer modeling techniques to investigate the interplay between lithospheric-scale tectonics and erosion/sedimentation at the Earth's surface. TISC is a code that integrates the calculation of lithospheric flexure, kinematic fault deformation, and surface mass transport (erosion/transport/sedimentation) along drainage networks. In other words, TISC is a software that simulates the evolution of 3D large-scale sediment transport together with tectonic deformation and lithospheric isostatic movements on geological time scales. TISC stands for Tectonics, Isostasy, Surface transport, and Climate.

Take a look at the documentation wiki and download TISC at GitHub. TISC is available for Linux / OS X platforms only.

Download TISC from the github repository See also the Open Forum.

The Landscape Evolution Model (LEM) component of TISC can deal with closed (internally-drained, endorheic) basins and finds the equilibrium between precipitation in drainage basins and evaporation in terminal lakes. Orographic precipitation is also calculated. Relative to other existing LEMs (Child, Cascade, Eros, ...), TISC explicitly handles lakes forming in local topographic minima, finding the outlet of such water bodies, and accounting for their role as hydrological and sedimentary sinks. It also accounts for internal drainage (endorheism) depending on the collected runoff and the lake's surface evaporation, explicitly calculating the extension of the resulting closed-drainage lakes. It also tracks sediment horizons in the sedimentary basins. TISC uses a fixed rectangular mesh for the finite-difference method. Water flow is at steady state.

Particular attention is given to the formation of sedimentary basins, with a full track of the source-to-sink balance between erosion and sedimentation. Further information in these papers (G-C, 2002, Basin Res., G-C et al., 2003) showing first results of this numerical model.

Describe key physical parameters and equations [[Describe key physical parameters::Most updated description is at

For the surface process and climatic (orographic precipitation) parts only: Garcia-Castellanos, D., Jiménez-Munt, I., 2015. Topographic evolution and climate aridification during continental collision: insights from computer simulations. PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132252 [pdf] [pdf]]]

Describe length scale and resolution constraints
Describe time scale and resolution constraints
Describe any numerical limitations and issues

Describe available calibration data sets
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers?
Is there a manual available? No
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board

This part will be filled out by CSDMS staff

OpenMI compliant No but possible
BMI compliant No but possible
WMT component No but possible
PyMT component
Is this a data component
Can be coupled with:
Model info
Daniel Garcia Castellanos
Nr. of publications: 6
Total citations: 630
h-index: 6
m-quotient: 0.22
Qrcode TISC.png
Link to this page




Nr. of publications: 6
Total citations: 630
h-index: 6
m-quotient: 0.22

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Braun, Jean; Sambridge, Malcolm; 1997. Modelling landscape evolution on geological time scales: a new method based on irregular spatial discretization. Basin Research, 9, 27–52. 10.1046/j.1365-2117.1997.00030.x
(View/edit entry)
1997 TISC
Model overview 397
Persson, Katarina S.; Garcia-Castellanos, Daniel; Sokoutis, Dimitrios; 2004. River transport effects on compressional belts: First results from an integrated analogue-numerical model: RIVER TRANSPORT EFFECTS ON COMPRESSIONAL BELTS. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 109, . 10.1029/2002JB002274
(View/edit entry)
2004 TISC
Model overview 52
Berry, M.; Wijk, J.; Cadol, D.; Emry, E.; Garcia‐Castellanos, D.; 2019. Endorheic‐Exorheic Transitions of the Rio Grande and East African Rifts. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, , 2018GC008176. 10.1029/2018GC008176
(View/edit entry)
2019 TISC
Model overview 6
See more publications of TISC



Input Files

Output Files