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Continental Drift: Not Even Wrong

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0013
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter takes a look at Arthur Holmes's ideas that lent credence to the theory of continental drift, first brought up by Alfred Wegener. Holmes took Wegener's theory, with its many flaws but ... More


Mountains, Trenches, Sunken Islands: The Great Revolution in Earth Science

Wolf H. Berger

in Ocean: Reflections on a Century of Exploration

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780520247789
eISBN:
9780520942547
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:
10.1525/california/9780520247789.003.0013
Subject:
Biology, Aquatic Biology

This chapter explains the concepts of continental drift, seafloor spreading, plate tectonics, and mantle convection to address the origin of the most striking features of the Earth’s surface. These ... More


The Final Confrontation

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0016
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter looks at the final confrontation between geophysicists and paleomagnetists over the theory of continental drift. The standard historical geology textbook used in the 1950s did not ... More


Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

James Powell

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.001.0001
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

Over the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth: deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming. ... More


Geologists Unite Against Heresy

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0012
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter focuses on geologists who united against the idea of continental drift, first brought up by Alfred Wegener, and declared it a heresy. According to Robert Newman, “In the crucial ... More


Seafloor magnetism and drifting continents

Dan McKenzie

in A Century of Nature: Twenty-One Discoveries that Changed Science and the World

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
May 2013
ISBN:
9780226284132
eISBN:
9780226284163
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226284163.003.0010
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

In 1960, almost no one believed in the idea of continental drift—that the continents move across the face of the Earth. Within a decade, a complete shift of opinion had occurred: continental drift, ... More


A Very Trusting Man

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0010
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter examines Alfred Wegener's theory on continental drift. Wegener's ideas are encapsulated in his 1929 book, in which he showed that contraction, permanence, and land bridges between ... More


Wandering Poles or Drifting Continents?

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0015
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter discusses the results of paleomagnetic research that bore on continental drift. Paleomagnetic research proceeded in two phases. First came the effort to establish the reliability of rock ... More


Dead on Arrival

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0011
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter focuses on the geologists' rejection of the theory of continental drift, first brought up by Alfred Wegener. World War I prevented English speakers from reading either of the first two ... More


All This Rubbish

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0020
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter takes a look at some of the scientists who continued to reject continental drift. By the 1970s the majority of geologists had come to accept drift, but some never did: Walter Bucher, ... More


Poles Apart

Roy Livermore

in The Tectonic Plates are Moving!

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
April 2018
ISBN:
9780198717867
eISBN:
9780191860492
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198717867.003.0004
Subject:
Physics, Geophysics, Atmospheric and Environmental Physics, History of Physics

In just a few years, the magnetic bar-code secreted beneath the world’s oceans had provided detailed intelligence on the motions of the plates. When combined with other data from the sea floor, this ... More


From Heresy to Truth

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0036
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This book has taken a historical look at deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming and how each of them overcame accusations of being heretic and eventually became accepted ... More


An Idea to Pursue

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0009
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter takes a historical look at how the idea of continental drift originated. In 1911, Alfred Wegener, a young professor of meteorology, wrote to German meteorologist Wladimir Köppen to point ... More


Spreading Seafloors

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0017
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter discusses paleomagnetic research that focused on spreading seafloors and their relevance to continental drift. By 1964, paleomagnetic research was already shifting direction. No longer ... More


Postwar Surprises

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0014
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter discusses some of the surprising ideas on continental drift that emerged after World War II. In 1965, a young Princeton postdoctoral student named W. Jason Morgan had been poring over ... More


HypotHESSes

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0018
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter discusses the influence of Harry Hess's theory of seafloor spreading on other scientists who were studying continental drift. Fred Vine, inspired by Hess's talk at Cambridge in January ... More


The Discovery of the Century

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0019
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter focuses on what turns out to be the discovery of the twentieth century: the key insight that turned seafloor spreading and continental drift into plate tectonics. In his 1965 article on ... More


Empirical: The Physical Sciences

Peter V. Rabins

in The Why of Things: Causality in Science, Medicine, and Life

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164726
eISBN:
9780231535458
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164726.003.0006
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

This chapter discusses three concepts, developed during the twentieth century, that have significantly influenced the current conceptualization of causality: relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and ... More


Evolution and Biogeography

Jaboury Ghazoul

in Dipterocarp Biology, Ecology, and Conservation

Published in print:
2016
Published Online:
August 2016
ISBN:
9780199639656
eISBN:
9780191827167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199639656.003.0004
Subject:
Biology, Plant Sciences and Forestry, Biodiversity / Conservation Biology

The evolutionary relationships among the dipterocarps remain a topic of debate. While some branches of the dipterocarp phylogenetic tree are reasonably well resolved, others remain uncertain and ... More


The Explorers

Claude A. Piantadosi

in Mankind Beyond Earth: The History, Science, and Future of Human Space Exploration

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231162432
eISBN:
9780231531030
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231162432.003.0004
Subject:
Sociology, Science, Technology and Environment

This chapter begins with a discussion of the characteristics of explorers. It then turns to the history of polar science to illustrate why human space exploration seems so slow moving. It focuses on ... More


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