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NSF Grants Related to Marine Geochemistry and Chemical Oceanography in the 1950s




T.J. Chow and T.G. Thompson (University of Washington). Distribution of some minor elements in seawater.


C. Urey (University of Chicago). Isotopic abundances relating to geochemical research

D.B. Erickson (Columbia University). Lithological and micropaleontological investigation of the Atlantic Ocean.

J.L. Kulp (Columbia University). Time relations of ocean floor sediments .

M.L. Keith (Pennsylvania State Univ.). Fractionation of stable isotopes in geological processes.


J.L. Kulp (Columbia University). Carbon-14 dating of archeological and anthropological specimens.

W.H. Dennen and E. Mencher (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Geochemical investigations of sedimentary rocks.

D.W. Hood (Texas A&M Univ.). Calcium carbonate solubility equilibrium in sea water.


E.S. Barghoorn (Harvard University). Organic residues in fossil sediments .

H.B. Moore (University of Miami). Oxygen-density relationships and phosphate control of Caribbean waters.

H.D. Holland (Princeton University). Radiation damage measurements as a guide to geologic age.

V.T. Bowen (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). Research instrumentation for sampling water at all depths.

E.S. Devey (Yale University). Radiocarbon dating and other forms of geochronometry.


J.L. Kulp (Columbia University). Isotope geology of strontium and rubidium.

F.F. Koczy (University of Miami). Distribution of radioactive elements in the oceans.

E.K. Ralph (University of Pennsylvania). Half-life of carbon-14.

K.O. Emery and A. Hancock (University of Southern California). Rate of deposition of sediments off Southern California.


B.B. Benson (Amherst College). Oxygen isotope variations in ocean water.

C.C. Patterson and T.J. Chow (California Institute of Technology). Lead isotopes in the oceans.

W.S. Broecker (Columbia University). Radiocarbon age determinations .

T.G. Thompson (University of Washington). Organic compounds in sea water.

K.K. Turekian (Yale University). Crustal abundance of nickel, cobalt and chromium.

Geophysical Year Related Grants:

Radiocarbon or Radiochemistry. (University of California-Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Columbia University, Texas A&M University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Procurement of Equipment for Carbon Dioxide Measurement. (University of Washington)


SOURCE: Reeve (1998).

Some publications of the 1950s would have major, lasting impact on chemical oceanography and marine geochemistry. W.W. Rubey published his very influential contribution Geologic History of Sea Water: An Attempt to State the Problem (Rubey, 1951). In the same year, Urey et al. (1951) reported on their result of measuring paleotemperatures using stable isotopes of oxygen. Harmon Craig wrote The Geochemistry of Stable Carbon Isotopes (Craig, 1953), setting the scene for many studies using stable isotopes of carbon. Edward D. Goldberg wrote Marine Geochemistry 1: Chemical Scavengers of the Sea (Goldberg, 1954), setting the scene for many studies to follow related to particle scavenging of chemicals in seawater. V.M. Goldschmidt, continuing his pioneering efforts in geochemistry over two decades, published his highly acclaimed book, Geochemistry (Goldschmidt, 1954). Goldberg and Arrhenius (1958) published their paper on residence times of elements in the oceans. According to Goldberg (1965), the important concept of residence times for elements in the oceans, as estimated from inputs from rivers (and the atmosphere) and removals to sediments (and assuming steady state conditions), was introduced by Barth (1952). As a harbinger of things to come in the 1960s and later with respect to the utilization of the uranium decay series to quantify several processes in the ocean, Goldberg and Koide (1958) published a paper about ionium-thorium chronology in sediments.

Initiation of Modern Studies of the Oceans' Role in the Carbon Dioxide-Climate Concerns

As noted previously, much of chemical oceanography in the decades prior to 1940 had been focused on biologically related problems. One of the other areas of interest was the exchange of carbon dioxide between the sea and the atmosphere, including the physical chemistry of carbon dioxide and its solution in seawater (NAS, 1971 a). The role of the oceans in the cycle of carbon and particularly the carbon dioxide exchange between the ocean and the almosphere was identified as a major research focus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and championed by the Scripps' director Roger Revelle, beginning in the 1950s. Not only did Revelle recognize the significance of the atmosphere-ocean exchange of carbon dioxide and its relationship to climate issues, he participated personally in the research, and he recruited a diverse group of talented chemists an d geochemists to conduct research on the problem, as has been chronicled by Shor (1978). As one example, Revelle brought Charles David Keeling (Keeling, 1958) to Scripps in 1956 and encouraged him to study carbon dioxide in the atmosphere-ocean system (Keeling, 1968). Clearly, one of the most influential papers pertaining to chemical oceanography and oceanography in general of the 1950s, and in all of the literature up to the present in oceanography, is the paper by Revelle and Suess (1957), "Carbon Dioxide Exchange Be

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