Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

J. Tuzo Wilson 1908–1993


  • Anonymous


Former AGU President (1980–1982) and Fellow J. Tuzo Wilson passed away on April 15 at age 84. An AGU member since 1950, he was awarded the Bucher Medal in 1968 and the Ewing Medal in 1980. Wilson had been the director general of the Ontario Science Center in Toronto, Canada, since 1974 and retired in 1985.

Wilson made many significant contributions to geology, particularly in the area of plate tectonics. He studied the structure and tectonics of California and proposed that the Earth was a dynamic and mobile body and that the presence of young mountain systems at continental margins was evidence of the continuing dynamic process. He presented his theory at a time when the belief was that the Earth was static, mountains formed during short periods of intense vertical movement, and the ocean basins had formed early in the Earth's history. He also proposed that the pattern of consistent ages for volcanic island chains in the ocean basins were due to convection currents in the Earth's mantle that brought heat and magma to the surface where it cooled to form islands.