Chapter 3

Lamont in 1977


McKenzie again spent time at LamontLamontLamont Geological Observatory (now Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory) was established by Columbia University, New York in 1949 following a gift of land by the Lamont family. Maurice Ewing was its first director and his dedication to exploration and discovery established it as a world leader in geophysics. Ewing demanded comprehensive data collection on Lamont research voyages, building a vast store of data: the Vema alone covered more than a million miles in her working life at Lamont. Despite this, Ewing and his colleague Walter Bucher did not accept the mobilist worldview of plate tectonics. in 1977; here he worked out the application of what he had seen in the Aegean to the problematic extensional basins. He talked about his model at a meeting of Lamont’s Industrial Associates. “All the oil company geologists said that’s obviously correct, that’s obviously how these basins formed. They all went back to their oil companies and wrote programmes to look at the subsidence history because this model both predicted the subsidence history and of course the heat flow, so they had the two things that they wanted.”

Page from the printout ‘Full thermal model for extension’, modelled at Lamont, 29 November 1977, from the working file for the papers McKenzie, D, “Some remarks on the development of sedimentary basins”, ‘Earth and Planetary Science Letters’, vol 40 (1978), pp25-32 and Jarvis, G T & D McKenzie, “Sedimentary basin formation with finite extension rates”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 48: 42-52, (1980).