Around the same time as mantle isotope geochemistry was developing, ideas and theories about continental drift and sea-floor spreading were being assembled into what would eventually be called plate tectonics. It was a time of fierce and bitter debate (I recall one of my Berkeley professors angrily saying that the proponents of the new theory should be confined to insane asylums). One of the key early papers in this development was that of Wilson (1963), who noted the parallel nature of volcanic island chains in the Pacific and suggested they formed as convection currents in the shallow mantle dragged...

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