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Reference Resources for Exploring the World Ocean by Chamberlin and Dickey, 2008

The following references were used in preparation of the text. They are provided here for students and instructors who wish to gain a broader knowledge and explore further the concepts and ideas presented in the textbook. References with an asterisk (*) are in Professor Sean’s collection. Feel free to ask about them. And if you know of a good reference that we have omitted, please let us know! (schamberlin@fullcoll.edu)
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Plate Tectonics

worksheets | activities | animations | presentations | audio | video | references | links ____________________________________________________________________

*Davies, G.F. 1999. Dynamic Earth: Plates, Plumes and Mantle Convection. Cambridge Press. pp 38-43.

This is one of Professor Sean’s favorite books. Davies provides a highly readable advanced discussion of the science of plate tectonics and mantle processes. It is an excellent resource for anyone who desires a deeper understanding of plate tectonics and wishes to better understand the controversy over the mechanisms that drive plate motions.

Reference for: Chapter 3, Plate Dynamics


*Morley, L.W., 2001. The Zebra Pattern. In: Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth. Westview Press., pp 67-85.

Morley’s article in the Oreskes volume stands out as a personal account of one of the key pieces of evidence in plate tectonics history. He recounts his struggles as a graduate student to get his paper published, only to be scooped by Matthews and Vine. To the credit of this book, his original paper is published in its entirety.

Reference for: Chapter 3, Historical Development of Plate Tectonics Theory


*Oreskes, N. 2001. From Continental Drift to Plate Tectonics. In: Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth. Westview Press. pp 3-27.

This book is a must-have for anyone who teaches plate tectonics. It provides first-hand accounts from the many scientists whose work contributed to acceptance of plate tectonics theory. It also dispels some commonly held notions about American rejection of Wegener’s proposals in the early 1900s. Perhaps most importantly, it provides a sense of the intellectual and emotional struggles of scientists as they come to grips with a revolutionary new idea.

Reference for: Chapter 3, Historical Development of Plate Tectonics Theory

*Kearey, P. and F. Vine. 1996. Global Tectonics. 2nd Ed. Blackwell Science. 333 pp.


*Wegener, Alfred. 1966. The Origin of Continents and Oceans. Translated by John Biram. Dover Publications: NY

Wegener’s book is a must-have for anyone teaching plate tectonics or interested in the contributions to the theory made by Wegener. Translated from the 1929 fourth edition of Wegener’s original work, this book demonstrates the careful and well-considered arguments that Wegener put forth in support of continental drift. Wegener’s foreword is especially revealing of his personal struggle to build a case for his theory. Excerpts from the book would make a great assignment to help students understand the history of science and the evidence that science requires for a theory to gain acceptance.

*Planet Earth, Volume 1: The Living Machine. 1995. (Available on DVD in 2005.)

Although some of the science in this video is a bit dated, the segments on Hutton, the historical development of plate tectonics, and the models of plate boundaries make this video useful for teaching students.


*Foulger, Gillian R., James H. Natland, Dean C. Presnall, and Don L. Anderson. 2005. Plates, Plumes, and Paradigms. Special Paper 388. Geological Society of America: CO

This compilation, dedicated to Arthur Holmes, debates the evidence for hotspot plumes and presents alternative explanations for plate dynamics.

*Menard, H. W. 1986. The Ocean of Truth: A Personal History of Global Tectonics. Princeton University Press: NJ

*Hart, Pembroke, editor. 1969. The Earth’s Crust and Upper Mantle. American Geophysical Union: Washington, DC.

A number of seminal papers are contained in this volume, including ones by Sykes (Seismicity of the Mid-Oceanic Ridge System), Runcorn (The Paleomagnetic Vector Field, Convection in the Mantle), and others. Published soon after Vines and Matthews’ paper, this volume provides a glimpse of the evidence and controversies that emerged soon after the start of the plate tectonics revolution.

The Endless Voyage: Making the Pieces Fit and  The World in Motion. (Episodes 3 and 4). 2002 (VHS and DVD). Intelecom.

Professor Sean appeared in several of the episodes of this series and helped develop learning activities to support it. While some episodes are better than others, The Endless Voyage provides one of the most complete and up-to-date series on oceanography available



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