During the last quarter century, the Atlantic Ocean, more than any other region on earth, has given direction to new and fruitful lines of thought in geology. While it was destined by location to play this role among oceans, the impetus that started the new lines of investigation came to a large extent from the bold reasoning of Alfred Wegener, who challenged most of the concepts on which attempts to understand the dynamics of crustal deformation had so far been based.

Thus a critical evaluation of Wegener's ideas made it imperative that more accurate information on the topographic configuration of the sea floor be secured. The menace of the U-boat in the World War led to the development of sonic sounding methods simultaneously in the United States, in England, and in Germany. The new tool applied to the numerous shipping lanes soon made . . .

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