Friday, January 14, 2011

Seamounts, also named guyots after Swiss-American geologist Arnold Henry Guyot

Arnold Henry Guyot (1807-1884) was a Swiss-American scientist [1,2]. He studied in Switzerland and Germany. Influenced by glaciologist Louis Agassiz, Guyot investigated Swiss glaciers. He was a professor of geography in Neuchâtel in Switzerland and later became the first professor for geography at Princeton University in the United States. He published text books in the fields of natural history and geography. His name is now mostly associated with seamounts (extinct volcanoes) found in deep oceans and rising up to a few hundred feet below the sea surface, featuring a smooth platform top. Don and Florence Leet put it this way [3]:
They [the truncated volcanoes] were originally called “tablemounts” or “seamounts,” but the most widely used name now is “guyot,” after Arnold Guyot, a Swiss-American geologist of the mid-19th century. Guyots, like submarine canyons, raise the fascinating question of whether sea level has undergone fluctuations of a mile or more.
Notice that this was written during the years when the theory of plate tectonics and seafloor spreading slowly made its transition from speculation to proof gathering.

[1] James D. Dana: Memoir of Arnold Guyot. 1807-1884.[].
[2] Autorenkollektiv: Lexikon der Naturwissenschaftler. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg•Berlin, 2000.
[3] L. Don and Florence Leet:
EarthquakeDiscoveries in Seismology. Dell Publishing Co., Inc, 750 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. , 10017, USA, 1964; page 124.

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