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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!

Hooke, Newton and Peer Review

Peer review comes in for a lot of criticism, and University College London is trialling a different system. But historical precedents, going back to the early days of the Royal Society, suggest that it is unlikely to work.

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Approaches to Macquarie

A recent paper by Brandon Shuck and colleagues has presented detailed information from seismic reflection lines in the vicinity of the northernmost segment of the Macquarie Ridge Complex. For the regional picture, gravity maps are hard to beat, but they must be used with care.

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The starry sisters

Historically, women have always had a hard time breaking into science but two women, both sisters of astronomers but separated in time by 150 years, did manage it.

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Magnetic memories

In 2020 the Geological Survey of Australia’s Northern Territory had published a full-colour magnetic map of the whole of their area, with accompanying grids. For me, a trip into the days of my youth, because in mid-1964 I was party chief of a team flying part of a feature centred on Tennant Creek that had come to be known as the ‘Aeromagnetic Ridge’.

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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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