Frederick John Vine

(1939—1988) English geologist

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(1939–1988) British geologist

Vine was educated at Cambridge University. After a period in America teaching at Princeton University (1965–70) he returned to Britain becoming reader (1970) and professor of environmental science (1974) at the University of East Anglia.

In 1963, in collaboration with his supervisor Drummond Hoyle Matthews (1931–1997), Vine produced a paper, Magnetic Anomalies over Ocean Ridges, which provided additional evidence for, and modified, the sea-floor spreading hypothesis of Harry H. Hess, published in 1962. The fact that magnetic reversals had occurred during the Earth's history had been known since the work of Matonori Matuyama in the 1920s and B. Brunhes earlier in the century. Vine and Matthews realized that if Hess was correct, the new rock emerging from the oceanic ridges would, on cooling, adopt the prevailing magnetic polarity. Newer rock emerging would push it further away from the ridge and, intermittently, as magnetic reversals occurred, belts of material of opposing magnetic polarity would be pushed out.

From examining several ocean ridges in the North Atlantic, Vine and Matthews established that the parallel belts of different magnetic polarities were symmetrical on either side of the ridge crests. This provided crucial evidence for the sea-floor spreading hypothesis. Correlation between the magnetic anomalies of ocean ridges in other oceans was also established.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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