Ted Irving's early contributions to paleomagnetism
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 11:35 AM
Edward (Ted) Irving (1927 – 2014) was one of the most deeply and widely respected paleomagnetists, making significant contributions to the field throughout his career which spanned six decades. Restricting attention to the first decade of his career, the 1950s, he discovered from work on the Torridonian (1951-1953) that fine-grained red sandstones were generally suitable for paleomagnetic work (1951-1952). He rediscovered (1951) that paleomagnetism could be used to test continental drift, and initiated (1951) the first paleomagnetic test of whether India had drifted northward relative to Asia and argued (1954) that it had. He also made significant contributions to the first APW path for Great Britain (Creer, Irving, and Runcorn, 1954). He was the first to draw two APW paths to explain results from Great Britain and North America (1956) and to use paleomagnetism and paleoclimatology together to argue for continental drift (1954, 1956). With Ron Green, his first student, he first APW path for Australia (1958). He was the first to invoke axial rotations to explain away an apparent anomaly with an APW path (1959). His work on the Torridonian led to the first description of stratigraphically sequential reversals in sedimentary rocks. Moreover, his 1959 superb review of the paleomagnetic support for continental drift was instrumental in Hess’s becoming a continental drifter before he came up with the idea of seafloor spreading.