Case Studies in Earth & Environmental Science Journalism

Plate Tectonics: Does the Earth move?

Questions to Ponder and Discuss


Background information:

“Developing the Theory” – USGS website.

“Introduction to the Lithosphere.”

Vine, F.V.  “The Continental drift debate.”  Nature 266:  Mar 3 1977.

Kearey, P. and F. J. Vine. Global Tectonics. Oxford, Blackwell Sci. - Chapter 1, Historical Perspective pages 1-7. 1996.

Scientific Articles & Letters to Nature .

Wegener, A.  “The Origins of continents.”  Geol Rundsch 3: 276-292.  1915.

Wright, WB.  “The Wegener Hypothesis – Discussion at the British Association.”  Nature 111.  Jan 6 1923.

Lake, P.  “Wegener’s Hypothesis of continental drift.”  Nature 111, Feb 17, 1923.

Holmes, A.  “Continental Drift.”  Nature 122.  Sep 22, 1928.

Wilson, J.T.  “Some Consequences of Expansion of the Earth.”  Nature 185: Mar 26, 1960.

Dietz, R.S.  Continent and ocean basin evolution by spreading of the sea floor.  Nature 190:  June 3, 1961.

Vine, F.J., and J.T. Wilson.  Magnetic anomalies over a young oceanic ridge off Vancouver Island.  Science 150; Oct 22 1965. 

Popular Articles.

“Do continents drift?”  Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct 11 1925

Boone, Andrew.  “Stars to show if the continents move.”  Oct 17, 1926.  New York Times

Luyen, W.J.  “Scientists build the story of the drifting continents.” New York Times. Sep 7, 1930.

“The Wegener Theory.”  New York Times, May 21, 1931.

Kaempffert, Waldemar.  “The Origin of Land Masses and Ocean Deeps.”  New York Times.  Jan 22 1933.

“Land Areas Gradually Move West.”  The Washington Post.  Jun 3 1934.

Kuhn, Ferdinand.  “Gravitation seen re-forming earth.” New York Times.  Sep 5 1933.

“Continents drifted over south pole, geologists believe.”  The Washington Post.  Nov 16, 1937. 

“Wandering Continents.”  The Washington Post.  Dec 15, 1949.

Freeman, Ira.  “Crack in world is found at sea.” New York Times.  Feb 1, 1957.

Sullivan, Walter.  “Theory that continents drift is disputed by MIT Scientist.” New York Times.  May 8 1958

Sullivan, Walter.  “Physicist argues land-drift idea.”  April 19, 1959.

Sullivan, Walter.  “Continents seen drifting apart.” New York Times.  Sep 1 1959.

Kimble, George.  “The continents are still on the move.” New York Times.  Jul 21 1963.

“New look at continental drift is urged.”  Washington Post, Times Herald.  Aug 22 1963.

Getze, George.  “Moon believed once part of earth’s crust.”  Los Angeles Times.  Dec 27, 1963.

Simons, Howard.  “Scientist backs idea of continental drift.”  Los Angeles Times.  Mar 22 1964.

Wilford, John.  “Geologist backs contents’ drift.” New York Times.  Apr 10, 1966.

Walter Sullivan.  “Calendar is discovered on ocean floors.” New York Times.  Dec 10, 1966.

Bengelsdorf, Irving.  “Africa, America once joined.”  Los Angeles Times.  Sep 26, 1967.

Getze, George.  “Continental drift theory gains new support.”  Los Angeles Times.  Nov 25, 1968.

Sullivan, Walter.  “Mountain Birth Linked to Oceans.” New York Times.  Sep 12 1970.

Pearre, James.  “What’s going on under earth’s quaking skin.”  Chicago Tribune, Oct 18 1976.

“Theorist on earth shifts awarded $50,000 prize.” New York Times.  Feb 27, 1978.

White, John.  “Scientist offers ‘flip theory’ of our topsy-turvy world.” Chicago Tribune.  Jun 9, 1980.

Raymo, Chet.  “Cat Scanning earth.”  The Boston Globe.  June 24, 1985.


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