When I first thumbed through Earth Science Data, it brought to mind a similar reference book, a long-stay of mineralogists and geologists, the Geological Society of America’s Memoir 97, Handbook of Physical Constants, published in 1966 and never updated. The Memoir itself grew out of an earlier publication by GSA with the same title and issued as Special Paper 36 in 1942. Curiosity drove me to examine these two publications and to evaluate the changes and progress that had taken place in the quarter-century that intervened between their issuance.

Special Paper 36 is a collection of tables distributed...

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