The Continental Drift Controversy: Volume 1, Wegener and the Early Debate

The Continental Drift Controversy: Volume 1, Wegener and the Early Debate

  • Electronic book text
By (author) 

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


Resolution of the sixty year debate over continental drift, culminating in the triumph of plate tectonics, changed the very fabric of Earth science. This four-volume treatise on the continental drift controversy is the first complete history of the origin, debate and gradual acceptance of this revolutionary theory. Based on extensive interviews, archival papers and original works, Frankel weaves together the lives and work of the scientists involved, producing an accessible narrative for scientists and non-scientists alike. This first volume covers the period in the early 1900s when Wegener first pointed out that the Earth's major landmasses could be fitted together like a jigsaw and went on to propose that the continents had once been joined together in a single landmass, which he named Pangaea. It describes the reception of Wegener's theory as it splintered into sub-controversies and geoscientists became divided between the 'fixists' and 'mobilists'.
show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 36 b/w illus.
  • 1139372661
  • 9781139372664

Table of contents

1. How the mobilism debate was structured; 2. Wegener and Taylor develop their theories of continental drift; 3. Sub-controversies in the drift debate, 1920s-50s; 4. The mechanism sub-controversy: 1921-51; 5. Arthur Holmes and his theory of substratum convection, 1915-55; 6. Regionalism and the reception of mobilism: South Africa, India and South America from the 1920s through the early 1950s; 7. Regional reception of mobilism in North America: 1920s through the 1950s; 8. Reception and development of mobilism in Europe: 1920s through the 1950s; 9. Fixism's popularity in Australia: 1920s to middle 1960s; Index.
show more

Review quote

'A well constructed and gripping narrative, which preserves the complex scientific detail, but invites one into this fascinating world and helps the reader patiently to find a way through its labyrinth. Frankel is a wonderful guide and worthy of your trust.' Mott Greene, University of Puget Sound, Washington and University of Washington 'What is so impressive about this monumental work is its completeness. Frankel has gone back to the original sources and papers, to ensure complete understanding of the scientific issues involved. I recommend these volumes to anyone interested in the subject.' Dan McKenzie, University of Cambridge 'This is the definitive history of the way science really worked during the prolonged great geoscience debate of the twentieth century ... Superb either for sampling, eased by excellent organization, or for a long, rewarding read.' Warren Hamilton, Colorado School of Mines Praise for the 4-volume collection: '... an unparalleled study of remarkable depth, detail and quality of a key development in our ideas about how the Earth functions ... because Frankel draws on his extensive oral historical work with the key players in the development of plate tectonics, this is a study which can never be repeated in terms of its proximity to the events narrated, so many of those key players now being deceased.' Progress in Physical Geography
show more