My scientific career began with mid-ocean ridge basalts, although at the time they were still widely called ocean-floor, abyssal, or seafloor basalts; Stan Hart’s (Hart et al., 1972) MORB acronym had not yet caught on. In my second semester of graduate school, Jean-Guy Schilling assigned me the task of doing petrographic descriptions and modal analyses of the basalts he had dredged from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. My initial reaction was dread; despite having taken a full year of mineralogy and a quarter of igneous petrology at UC Berkeley, this was real world research and there was no...

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