Category Archives: Plate Tectonics

Tectonic Plates at 913,000 Kilometres per Hour

The Earth’s plates move at the same blazing speed as fingernails grow. On average, 2 centimetres in a year. Blink and you won’t miss much. The ox may be slow, but the Earth is patient. In 650 million years, the … Continue reading

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The Mountain Mystery (Book Review)

Originally posted on The Grumpy Geophysicist:
Many months ago, Ron Miksha was kind enough to send a copy of his book, The Mountain Mystery, to GG (Ron writes a blog under the book’s name).  Although the book was mostly read long…

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Mantle Plumes May Be Real (or maybe not)

Geophysicist Tuzo Wilson had a creepy daydream. He imagined himself lying at the bottom of a creek, looking up at water flowing overhead. He blew bubbles. They rose, were caught by the current, and drifted away. He came back from … Continue reading

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Earth Expands on Mystery Diet

Not long ago, a reader of this blog commented on my story about Alfred Wegener and continental drift. Wegener’s theory, you know, kicked around for about 50 years before enough evidence accumulated to prove its sister theory, plate tectonics. The … Continue reading

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Wegener’s Death and Drift’s Hiatus

Over the past few days, I’ve written about Alfred Wegener’s continental drift theory, which is celebrating its 100th year as a spunky idea that explains a lot of our geology. From mountains to earthquakes and deep sea rifts to island … Continue reading

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100 Years of Drift: Part 1

Fifty years ago, we finally figured out why the Earth has mountains. But one hundred years ago, Alfred Wegener had already offered an explanation – it took those extra 50 years for his grand idea to catch on. The continents, … Continue reading

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50 Years Ago: How the Continents Fit Together

50 years ago, on October 28, 1965, an unlikely British geophysicist made a map that set the record straight on how the world’s tectonic plates fit together. As a child, Edward Bullard was such a slow learner that his family … Continue reading

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License Plate Tectonics

I write about plate tectonics. I eagerly jumped from my news feed to the story: “License Plate Tectonics” after I read the headline. About time, I thought. We license everything else – hunting, fishing, driving, marriage. Why not license plate … Continue reading

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Nepal’s Missing Volcanoes

Last month’s devastating earthquakes in Nepal were caused by the collision of the Indian subcontinent crashing into and (partly) under the bulk of Asia. The Himalayas are being created by the collision of tectonic plates. So, where are the volcanoes? … Continue reading

Posted in Geology, How Geophysics Works, Oceans, Plate Tectonics | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Harry Hess and the Sea’s Floor

What does a commander of a World War II assault transport ship do in his spare time? If the captain is Harry Hammond Hess, he would be gathering geophysical data enroute to Iwo Jima. Later, he would use the data … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Exploration, Geology, History, How Geophysics Works, Oceans, Plate Tectonics, The Book | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments