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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation by National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life

By National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Environment and Resources Commission on Geosciences, Ocean Studies Board

This e-book describes the advance of ocean sciences during the last 50 years, highlighting the contributions of the nationwide technological know-how origin (NSF) to the field's development. some of the people who participated within the fascinating discoveries in organic oceanography, chemical oceanography, actual oceanography, and marine geology and geophysics describe within the booklet how the discoveries have been made attainable by way of mixtures of insightful members, new expertise, and in certain cases, serendipity.

as well as describing the improvement of ocean technology, the e-book examines the institutional buildings and expertise that made the advances attainable and offers visions of the field's destiny. This publication is the first-ever documentation of the background of NSF’s department of Ocean Sciences, how the constitution of the department developed to its current shape, and the people who were accountable for ocean sciences at NSF as “rotators†and profession employees over the last 50 years.

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J. Heirtzler had identified magnetic anomalies on both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge along a transect across the South Atlantic and had estimated the ages of the anomalies by extrapolating back into the Late Cretaceous the radiometric ages of magnetic reversals in Neogene lava flows on land, assuming uniform spreading rates. Two geophysicists, Art Maxwell and Dick 34 35 von Herzen, were designated as co-chief scientists. Drilling showed a near-perfect match between magnetically predicted basement ages and paleontologically determined ages of basal sediments, and for this reason alone the leg was a triumph.

Almost concurrent with the start of drilling, an empirical relation was established, using an early version of the magnetic anomaly time scale, for the age of oceanic crust and its depth below the sea surface. The empirical curve, with correction for isostatic loading by sediments, fits closely to a simple curve D = D0 + K(Age1/2), where D is the depth of oceanic crust, D0 is the depth at the spreading center and K is a constant, generally about 350. The curve is applicable out to crust about 80 million years old, where it begins to flatten.

S. Geological Survey. CaMrill maintained position by monitoring deviations from the vertical of a taut wire from the vessel to an anchor on the seafloor. The data went to a computer that controlled four large outboard motors on the four "corners" of the ship and kept the ship on station. The cores (recovery about 25-70 percent) from the six drill sites nicely documented the Cenozoic drowning history of the old Cretaceous carbonate platform, but everyone understood that the taut-wire station-keeping system would not be applicable to operations in the deep sea, the place everyone wanted to go.

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