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Sedimentation and paleoceanography of the central equatorial Pacific

By
F. Theyer
F. Theyer
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E. Vincent
E. Vincent
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L. A. Mayer
L. A. Mayer
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Published:
January 01, 1989

Abstract

In 1872, a 61-m sail-powered corvette, the H.M.S. Challenger, under the scientific direction of C. W. Thomson, left Portsmouth, England, on a monumental natural-history survey of the world's ocean basins. Returning in 1876, this ambitious exploration laid the foundation for modern marine geology and oceanography. Despite the immense success of this expedition, it was not until after World War II that marine sciences began their true evolution. The equatorial Pacific—particularly its central portion—played a pivotal role in this rapid post-war scientific development. Indeed, from the late 1940s until today, numerous research programs followed the lead of the Challenger into this region, including five legs of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP). Their cumulative results have demonstrated that central Pacific sediments are sensitive recorders of the interplay among tectonism, climate, oceanic circulation, and biological productivity. It is not surprising then that this oceanic region, probably more so than any other, has been instrumental in establishing global Cenozoic stratigraphic schemes, in shaping the understanding of paleoceanographic events, and in the development of tectonic models for plate motion.

The evolution of our knowledge of the equatorial Pacific can be divided into three phases, with the H.M.S. Challenger expedition representing the first. Although not exclusively concerned with this region, the classic Challenger reports by Brady (1884) on foraminifers, by Haeckel (1887) on radiolarians, and particularly that by Murray and Renard (1891) on deep-sea sediments, unquestionably formed the basis of the unprecedented scientific growth that paleoceanographic research was to experience during the second phase, which spanned the late 1940s through mid-1970s.

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Contents

DNAG, Geology of North America

The Eastern Pacific Ocean and Hawaii

E. L. Winterer
E. L. Winterer
Scripps Institution of Oceanography La Jolla, California 92093
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Donald M. Hussong
Donald M. Hussong
University of Hawaii Department of Geology and Geophysics Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
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Robert W. Decker
Robert W. Decker
4087 Silver Bar Road Mariposa, California 95338
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Geological Society of America
Volume
N
ISBN electronic:
9780813754659
Publication date:
January 01, 1989

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