[LMB] Betan Earthquake preparedness

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Fri Apr 22 22:55:13 BST 2016


On Fri, April 22, 2016 1:54 pm, Damien Sullivan wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 11:28:38AM +0100, Marc Wilson wrote:
>
>
>> It's interesting to me that plate tectonics has gone from "lunatic
>> fringe idea" to almost "household word" within a human lifespan, though
>> sadly Wegener did not live to see his vindication.
>
> Wegener's fringe idea was continental drift.  Plate tectonics is the
> mechanism that was later developed to explain drift, once geologists were
> convinced drift was happening, and has never been a lunatic fringe idea.

It's also worth noting that quite a bit of work had to be done on
Wegener's ideas -- for instance, he thought that the continents would be
moving at several tens of meters per year, and it was easy for even the
1920s to measure that that simply wasn't happening.  (When we got really
got measurements, by bouncing lasers off the Apollo retroreflectors on the
Moon, it turned out that the continents were moving relative to each
other, but much more slowly -- on the order of centimeters/year.)

Also Wegener had no mechanism for how the continents could plow through
the heavy rock of the ocean bottoms.  (It turns out that the ocean beds
also move, the whole crust of the Earth is broken up into many moving
plates, as opposed to the original vision of just continents moving.)

Et cetera.

(Fun book recommendation on the topic: _The Road to Jaramillo_.)


Tony Zbaraschuk
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