Tag Archives: drift

Tibetan Mountain Mystery

Tibet’s mysterious plateau – part of the largest and thickest bit of earth crust anywhere on the planet – was recently subjected to the scrutiny of a group of Kansas University scientists. They flew into Lhasa, capital of Tibet, then … Continue reading

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The Bad Luck of Extinction

Bad genes or bad luck? That’s the subtitle of Extinction,  David Raup’s romp through Earth history from his viewpoint as a preeminent palaeontologist. Raup (along with colleague Jack Sepkoski) became somewhat well known for their theory that extinctions occur in … Continue reading

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When Tectonics Started

The Earth is the only planet known to have continents adrift. Scientists are rather certain that the drifting began about a billion years into Earth’s history. This means that for a thousand million years, the continents just sat there. Idle. … Continue reading

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Those who can’t, teach…

Today, September 25, would be the 171st birthday of Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin. A discouraging character to honour. Born in 1843, by 1900 his ideas about science education and the scientific method came to dominate American science. Not all of his … Continue reading

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Popular, but Wrong

We don’t usually celebrate a man’s death, and we are not doing that here. But William Matthew (1871-1930) died on this date in 1930, and his appearance on my geo-calendar was a reminder to me to think about this popular … Continue reading

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Earth Rising

I was a child when the first photograph of the Earth, as seen from orbit around the Moon, arrived at NASA. Lunar Orbiter 1 was up there, scouting places for a future landing party of American astronauts. As an afterthought, … Continue reading

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Kickstarting Tectonics

The Mountain Mystery. tells the story of how (most) geologists and geophysicists finally agreed that plate tectonics moves the continents, opens ocean basins, and scrunches crust into mountains. But what started the tectonic motion? Most of us assume that the scheme … Continue reading

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Mountains as a mystery

The release of the book, The Mountain Mystery, coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of how the Earth’s mountains were formed. It’s fascinating to think about – in our parents’ and grandparents’ lifetimes, geologists finally figured out why … Continue reading

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