PLATES & PLUMES
Don L Anderson & James H. Natland
William Jason Morgan announced his retirement from the Department of
Geosciences at Princeton University, effective February 1, 2004, after a 44-year
relationship with the university. He began as a student of Robert Dicke in physics and
then worked with Walter Elsasser before joining the faculty of the Department of
Geology in 1966.
The past 35 years have borne witness to a profound revolution in the Earth
Sciences, transforming our view of the Earth. Jason Morgan's work was instrumental in
launching this revolution, and he continues to be a leader in producing new insights into
how our planet works.
Although the idea of fixed hot spots was first stated by Wilson (1962), the essence
of the plume model was launched by Jason in 1971 with a series of three papers over the
next two years (Morgan, 1971, 1972a, b). The papers are remarkable for their clarity and
conciseness, as is the model for its simplicity and testability or, as Popper would have
said, subject to falsification. In spite of thirty years of testing, no alternative has come