Earth Complexity vs. Plate Tectonic Simplicity

  • Giancarlo Scalera


A strong impulse to the geosciences was due to the journey of Christopher Columbus and to the subsequent work of contemporary cartographers in mapping the new continents. The similarity of the Atlantic coastline shapes of South America and Africa become immediately evident, transporting the 16th century thought towards new “continents” of ideas and awarenesses. From the sometimes different and attenuated fiat Earth dogmas (Randies, 1980) defended by the church in the age of Columbus, three centuries were needed to slowly develop the links with other fields which prompted the French naturalist Buffon to affirm that:

They (elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses) lived contemporaneusly in the northern region of Europe, Asia and America; a fact revealing that the two continents were once contiguous and that they separated in later epochs. (.....) Maybe the separation of Europe from America happened 10000 years ago.


Fracture Zone Magnetic Anomaly Plate Tectonic Pacific Plate Ocean Floor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giancarlo Scalera
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale di GeofisicaItaly

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