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Science (mostly history, and mostly gravity)

Chasing the history of the gravity method sometimes took me down side-tracks that did not quite fit the theme, and so never made it into ‘The Hunt’. Also, and inevitably, there were stories that should have been in ‘The Hunt’ but which I missed. Here are some of them, and bits of new Earth Science are sometimes included!

Those damned beach balls

The Kaverina diagram used to display different tectonic regimes as defined by different styles of faulting has been modified by the addition of focal mechanism ‘beach-balls’. How helpful is that?

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Mohorovičić’s Fault

The last twelve months have not been kind to Croatia, thanks to the jostling of crustal blocks for space as the northern edge of Africa advances relentlessly towards Europe.

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The mystery of Mayotte

In May 2018, something very curious happened. The marine area immediately to the east of Mayotte, the easternmost major island in the Comoros chain, became seismically active.

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The Aves Ridge and the migration of mammals

The leading article in the November 19 issue of Eos was entitled “By Land or Sea: How Did Mammals Get to the Caribbean Islands?” Could gravity maps have anything to tell us about the possibilities?

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A geophysical rant

In an ideal world, there would be a continuous dialogue between geologists and geophysicists. Sadly, there seems to have been little progress in that direction in the last fifty years.

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A confusion of units

Gravity units are a mess. About half of all surveys have their results reported in the c,g,s unit, the mGal, and half in the S.I unit, which differs by a factor of ten. And very few people have any idea of why the Eötvös unit is defined in the way that it is.

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Mohorovičić geophysicist

There is no doubt that Andrija Mohorovičić deserves to be remembered. The work he did laid the foundations for the use of earthquake waves in understanding the Earth, but brilliance has not always been enough to ensure that a scientist is remembered. His work might easily have been overlooked, or lesser men might have received the credit, but this is one case where the right man has been honoured.

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The young Mohorovičić

For scientists their late twenties and early thirties are commonly crucial years. They may not do their most important work during them, but it is then that they establish the habits and attitudes that will serve them throughout their careers. Andrija Mohorovičić may not have established a lasting reputation in Bakar, and the work he did there may be largely forgotten, but without Bakar he might never have had a reputation of any sort.

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Global gravity models – a tangled web

The idea of making global maps of Earth gravity must go back a very long way, but it was really only after artificial satellites began to be tossed into orbit that the dream became any sort of reality. Unfortunately, where Bouguer gravity is concerned, there is still a very long way to go.

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The Fall Guys

‘Is a degree in Physics a necessary prerequisite to argue that an anecdote in history is not well documented (or perhaps even to write history of science)?’

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