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The Continental Drift Controversy

Volume 3. Introduction of Seafloor Spreading

£45.00

  • Date Published: August 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316616123

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About the Authors
  • 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 third volume describes the expansion of the land-based paleomagnetic case for drifting continents and recounts the golden age of marine geology and geophysics. Fuelled by the Cold War, US and British workers led the way in making discoveries and forming new hypotheses, especially about the origin of oceanic ridges. When first proposed, seafloor spreading was just one of several competing hypotheses about the evolution of ocean basins.

    • 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Henry Frankel has a fine eye, and ear, for the interlocking aspects of the emergence, recognized evolution, and acceptance of that flowering of a worldwide phenomenon, continental displacement.' Robert L. Fisher, Emeritus Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

    '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

    'This is an incredible book - the most interesting account of history that I have ever read. It will be a classic: the scholarship is exhaustive, it is well written and has an excellent historical background, drawing the reader into the whole story.' John G. Sclater, Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Diego

    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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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316616123
    • length: 494 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 13 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. Extension and reception of paleomagnetic/paleoclimatic support for mobilism, 1960–6
    2. Reception of the paleomagnetic case for mobilism by several notables, 1957–65
    3. Seafloor spreading, the first version: Harry Hess develops seafloor spreading
    4. Another version of seafloor spreading: Robert Dietz
    5. The Pacific as seen from Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Menard's changing views about the origin and evolution of the ocean floor
    6. Fixism and Earth expansion at Lamont Geological Observatory
    References
    Index.

  • Resources for

    The Continental Drift Controversy

    Henry R. Frankel

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  • Author

    Henry R. Frankel, University of Missouri, Kansas City
    Henry Frankel was awarded a PhD from Ohio State University in 1974 and then took a position at the University of Missouri, Kansas City where he became Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department (1999–2004). His interest in the continental drift controversy and the plate tectonics revolution began while teaching a course on conceptual issues in science during the late 1970s. The controversy provided him with an example of a recent and major scientific revolution to test philosophical accounts of scientific growth and change. Over the next thirty years, and with the support of the United States National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society, Professor Frankel's research went on to yield new and fascinating insights into the evolution of the most important theory in the Earth sciences.

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