Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth

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Naomi Oreskes, Homer Eugene LeGrand
Avalon Publishing, Dec 26, 2001 - Science - 424 pages
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Can anyone today imagine the earth without its puzzle-piece construction of plate tectonics? The very term, "plate tectonics," coined only thirty-five years ago, is now part of the vernacular, part of everyone's understanding of the way the earth works.The theory, research, data collection, and analysis that came together in 1967 to constitute plate tectonics is one of the great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century. Scholarly books have been written about tectonics, but none by the key scientists-players themselves. In Plate Tectonics, editor Naomi Oreskes has assembled those scientists who played key roles in developing the theory to tell - for the first time, and in their own words - the stories of their involvement in the extraordinary evolution of the theory.The book opens with an overview of the history of plate tectonics, including in-context definitions of the key terms that are discussed throughout the book. Oreskes explains how the forerunners of the theory, Wegener and du Toit, inspired how scientists working at the key academic institutions - Cambridge and Princeton Universities, Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory, and the University of California-San Diego's Scripps Institute of Oceanography – competed and collaborated until the theory coalesced in 1967.
 

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Plate tectonics: an insider's history of the modern theory of the Earth

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When the fundamentals of plate tectonics are explained in any basic geology textbook, it is easy to forget that in the 1960s it was a revolutionary idea that completely transformed earth science. "As ... Read full review

Contents

THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
1
FROM PALEOMAGNETISM
29
Reversals of Fortune
46
The Zebra Pattern
67
On Board the tamw19
86
The Birth of Plate Tectonics
95
HEAT FLOW AND SEISMOLOGY
109
Heat Flow under the Oceans
128
When Plates Were Paving Stones
191
My Conversion to Plate Tectonics
201
FROM THE OCEANS TO THE CONTINENTS
225
When the Plate Tectonic Revolution Met Western
243
The Coming of Plate Tectonics to the Pacific Rim
264
From Plate Tectonics to Continental Tectonics
288
CONTINENTS REALLY DO MOVE
329
Notes
347

Locating Earthquakes and Plate Boundaries
148
Earthquake Seismology in the Plate Tectonics Revolution
155
THE PLATE MODEL
167
Further Reading
407
Index
415
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About the author (2001)

Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D. Stanford, is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego.

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