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 the late 1960's 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 crucial roles in developing the theory to tell - for the first time, and in their own words - the stories of their involvement in the extraordinary confrimation 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, raised questions that were finally answered thirty years later, and 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 Institution of Oceanography ? competed and collaborated until the theory coalesced.
Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D. Stanford, is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego.
Acknowledgements Preface Part 1: The Historical Background * From Continetal Drift to Plate Tectonics Part 2: The Early Work: From Paleomagnetism to Sea Floor Spreading * Stripes on the Sea Floor Ron Mason * Reversals of Fortune Frederick J. Vine * The Zebra Pattern Lawrence W. Morley * On Board the Eltanin-19 Walter Pitman * The Birth of Plate Tectonics Neil D. Opdyke Part 3: Heat Flow and Seismology * How Mobile is the Earth Gordon J. MacDonald * Heat Flow Under the Oceans John G. Sclater * Locating Earthquakes and Plate Boundaries Bruce A. Bolt * Earthquake Seismology in the Plate Tectonics Revolution Jack Oliver Part 4: The Plate Model * Plate Tectonics: A Surprising Way to Start a Scientific Career Dan McKenzie * When Plates Were Paving Stones Robert L. Parker * My Conversion to Plate Tectonics Zvier Le Pichon Part 5: From the Oceans to the Continents * Plate Tectonics and Geology, 1965 to Today John F. Dewey * When the Plate Tectonic Revolution Met Western North America Tanya Atwater * The Coming of Plate Tectonics to the Pacific Rim William R. Dickinson * From Plate Tectonics to Continental Tectonics Peter Molnar Epilogue: Continents Really Do Move * Plate Tectonics: A Martian View David T. Sandwell Notes Further Reading Index