The Continental Drift Controversy
Volume 4. Evolution into Plate Tectonics
- Author: Henry R. Frankel, University of Missouri, Kansas City
The resolution of the sixty-year debate over continental drift, culminating in the triumph of plate tectonics, changed the very fabric of Earth science. This four-volume treatise on the continental drift controversy is the first complete history of the origin, debate and gradual acceptance of this revolutionary theory. Based on extensive interviews, archival papers and original works, Frankel weaves together the lives and work of the scientists involved, producing an accessible narrative for scientists and non-scientists alike. This fourth volume explains the discoveries in the mid 1960s which led to the rapid acceptance of seafloor spreading theory and how the birth of plate tectonics followed soon after with the geometrification of geology. Although plate tectonics did not explain the cause or dynamic mechanism of drifting continents, it provided a convincing kinematic explanation that continues to inspire geodynamic research to the present day.Read more
- The most thorough account ever written of the most fundamental theory in the geosciences
- Includes material from first-hand interviews with many of the leading scientists involved
- Frankel's accessible writing style will appeal to Earth scientists of all disciplines, as well as historians and philosophers of science
Reviews & endorsements
'What is so impressive about this monumental work is its completeness. Frankel has gone back to the original sources and papers, to ensure complete understanding of the scientific issues involved. I recommend these volumes to anyone interested in the subject.' Dan McKenzie, University of CambridgeSee more reviews
'Detailed and painstakingly researched, this account is the culmination of the author's research into this topic over more than thirty years. It is difficult to imagine a more comprehensive analysis of the relevant literature and of the attitudes of the scientists involved.' Fred Vine, Emeritus Professor, University of East Anglia
'Frankel has performed a huge and very valuable effort in pulling together not only original published sources but also unpublished correspondence from key authors, creating a timely and consistent picture of the crucial period when this revolution in the earth sciences occurred.' Lynn R. Sykes, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Praise for the 4-volume collection: '… an unparalleled study of remarkable depth, detail and quality of a key development in our ideas about how the Earth functions … because Frankel draws on his extensive oral historical work with the key players in the development of plate tectonics, this is a study which can never be repeated in terms of its proximity to the events narrated, so many of those key players now being deceased.' Progress in Physical Geography
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- Date Published: June 2012
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9781139369183
- contains: 105 b/w illus.
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. Reception of competing views of seafloor evolution, 1961–2
2. Explaining the origin of marine magnetic anomalies, 1958–63
3. Continuing disagreements over continental drift, the evolution of ocean floors, and mantle convection, 1963–4
4. Further work on the Vine–Matthews hypothesis and development of the idea of transform faults, 1964–5
5. Resolution of the continental drift controversy
6. Plate tectonics introduced
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