Homer E. Le Grand, 2002. "Plate tectonics, terranes and continental geology", The Earth Inside and Out: Some Major Contributions to Geology in the Twentieth Century, David R. Oldroyd
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The ‘modern revolution’ in the Earth sciences is associated with the emergence of plate tectonics in the late 1960s. The assumption that the crust of the Earth was composed of a small number of rigid, non-deformable, mobile plates enabled a quantitative, kinematic description of current geological processes and reconstructions of past plate interactions. The simple model of plate theory c. 1970, for example its depiction of a subduction zone, has since undergone considerable refinement. However, some geologists, especially those concerned with questions of continental tectonics, contend that plate theory in its current form is of limited value in addressing questions of continental tectonics, and prefer to employ the concept of allochthonous terranes in characterizing, describing and interpreting regional geology. These geologists may understandably take the view that plate tectonics is a kinematic grand generalization but thus far not particularly useful in making sense of the rocks at the local level.
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The Earth Inside and Out: Some Major Contributions to Geology in the Twentieth Century
This volume is a collection of papers on the history of twentieth century geology, of which eight were presented at a Symposium organized by the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences (INHIGEO) for the International Geological Congress at Rio de Janeiro in 2000.
The book offers a conspectus of selected developments of twentieth century geology. It has grown from largely a field discipline, chiefly concerned with rocks at the Earth's surface, to one that extends to the planet's interior, and to space beyond. New ideas, instruments, and techniques have extended the scope of earth science to the macro and the micro. Theories abound. One paper raises some of the social and political problems faced by modern geology.
The volume is intended as a prolegomenon to some future synthetic understanding of twentieth century earth sciences. It should appeal to a wide range of geoscientists and historians of science.