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Thread: Reflections on a Piece of History now in my hands.

  1. #1 Reflections on a Piece of History now in my hands. 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The Bay of Islands basic igneous pluton in Newfoundland is a classic example of such, surely known to all geology students alongside such other basic plutons as the Bushveld and Skaergard intrusions.

    Unlike the latter two we now know that the Bay of Islands is an ophiolite complex, a piece of ocean floor obducted onto continental material during plate tectonic collision.

    Modern investigation of the complex arguably began with the work of Earl Ingerson whose Ph.D. thesis at Yale was based upon a study of part of the complex. Ingerson was later instrumental in setting up the Geochemical Society and was its first president. He held posts in Innsbruck; at the Carnegie Insitution; and with the US Geological Survey before becoming Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Charles Smith, a geologist employed by the Geological Survey of Canada, conducted a detailed study of the complex in the 1950s, summarised in the Survey's Memoir 290, published in 1958. In this he acknowledged the value of the petrographic studies carried out by Ingerson and a co-worker, Cooper.

    (Harry Hess, who was an early advocate of sea floor spreading, and A.F. Buddington, an outstanding petrologist of his generation, also worked on the complex. They disagreed with Ingerson's view that there were four separate bodies in the complex, preferring the notion that it was a single disrupted mass.)

    At any rate Charles Smith sent a copy of the Memoir from the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys in Ottawa to Ingerson at the University of Texas. He inscribed on the first page

    To Earl Ingerson
    with sincere regards
    Charles Smith


    Ingerson retired in 1977, though he retained the title Professor emeritus, and died in 1993. The Geochemical Society honours him with an annual F.Earl Ingerson Lecture, focused on the cutting edge of geochemical research.

    At some point the copy of the memoir Smith sent to Ingerson came into the hands of Richard J. Weiland, a graduate student at the UT at Austin, who was researching ophiolites in Irian Jaya.

    The movements of the memoir after that are unknown to me, but yesterday I purchased it at a Half-Price Book store on Westheimer in Houston, Texas.

    To most people it is just another technical book on an esoteric topic. For me, with my interest in ophiolites and subduction it was a must buy the moment I saw it. Now that I know the history of this specific volume it has become one of my most treasured books.


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Congratulations on finding a book that is important to you! Was it pure luck that you found it?


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Congratulations on finding a book that is important to you! Was it pure luck that you found it?
    Totally. Although on each visit to Houston I visit at least four of the Half Price Book stores in the area and always check the geology section.
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  5. #4  
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    Good find, guy!

    That ophiolite is on my list of places to see before I die. The moho at the surface of the Earth? It's like Mecca for geologists.
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