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An attempt is made to understand some of the ways that marine geology developed during the past 50 years, essentially the working lifespan of an active but venerable scientist. This interpretation is aided by comparing marine geology with the development of land geology during a longer period, and by attempting to understand the relative roles of science and technology in the field of marine geology. Excursions from simple straight-line advance for all geology (and also for other fields) are provided by the unexpected appearances of broad generalizations, or paradigms, that commonly are developed by a few scientists and opposed by many, at least for a time. These sudden advances await the accumulation of critical masses of knowledge that, in turn, depend upon exceptional opportunities, partly in the form of adequate funding and partly by transfer of technology. These unusual circumstances make accurate prediction of future advances in mating geology (and in other scientific and technical fields) unreliable but still worthy of thought.

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