January 2, 1957
Dear Dr. Velikovsky:
Your comments on guyots are acute. You have put your finger on most of the deficiencies of my hypothesis as it stood in 1946. Perhaps you would like some further explanation. When written
Kuenens earlier estimate of the thickness of oceanic sediments agreed very closely to my needed 3000 ft. of submergence since the Proterozoic. Now the thickness has been reduced to 1/5 of the old estimate and the age of beginning of submergence also decreased to about 1/5. So I was off by a factor of 25. A more recent reprint which I am enclosing repairs the damage.
One km. of sediment on the ocean floor would cause sea level to rise one km. relative to some point on the original floor. The bottom would sink isostatically by .4 km. To get I km. of sediment on the sea floor means eroding 2.3 km. from the continents on the average. This looks as though the continents would be flooded but they rise most of the 2.3 km. isostatically and repeated mountain building thickens the crust about enough to leave sea level vs continent level relatively in the same place it was when the process started.
Ewings sand at 15000 ft. is now largely explained by him as the result of turbidity currents rather than submergence.
With regard to paleomagnetism, Runcorn is very convincing but he completely neglects a most important phenomenon, that is self reversal which some iron minerals are known to go through dependent on composition and rate of cooling. Some or all reversals may be due to this phenomenon. Runcorn will lecture on his views in Guyot [Hall, Princeton] January 11th.
I will pass your ideas on f) Dr. Kaplan in the IGY organization. I take a rather gloomy view of IGY and doubt if anything of much interest will come of it. Fifty six million dollars will produce a lot of scurrying back and forth to the South Pole and an indigestible mass of random observations on everything. Scientific discoveries and ideas are produced by the intuition, creativeness and genius of a man. Dollars of themselves dont produce this, any more than they could be expected to produce another Mona Lisa. This is something which I believe you can readily understand.
I would like to thank you for coming to talk to us. The students were most appreciative.