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Henry J. B. Dick


Henry Dick has been a senior scientist at Woods Hole since 1990. He first became interested in geology as a boy when he found a rock collection in an outbuilding at his grandparents’ home in Vancouver, Washington. His great-grandfather was a geologist sent out west in the 1890s by his uncle, Spencer Fullerton Baird, who also founded the U.S. Department of Fisheries. For his Ph.D. at Yale, Dick backpacked more than 60 square miles of the rugged Kalmiopsis Wilderness in southwestern Oregon, mapping ancient ocean crust and mantle formed at a former island arc. He came to Woods Hole to find out if rocks at mid-ocean ridges were really different from those he’d seen in the Oregon coast ranges and worked with Wilfred Bryan in the Geology and Geophysics Department. The answer proved to be yes, and he had so much fun finding out, that he’s stayed around. Dick works almost exclusively on regions of the earth with an average population density of less than one person per thousand square miles. He is currently involved in the discovery of a new class of ocean ridges found in the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica with colleagues at WHOI, the University of Tulsa, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. A lot of his time is spent fishing for broken bits of the earth’s mantle found in great faults along the ocean ridges. He has a remarkably dedicated wife named Winifred and three children, Helene, Spencer, and Lydia, who think their dad goes to sea too much.

Henry J.B. Dick

Earth’s Complex Complexion

Earth's Complex Complexion

Even as you read this, Earth’s crust is continually being reborn and recycled in a dynamic process that fundamentally shapes our planet. We’re not generally aware of all this action because most of it occurs at the seafloor, under a formidable watery shroud, and often in remote regions of the oceans.

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Indian Ocean’s Atlantis Bank Yields Deep-Earth Insight

Indian Ocean's Atlantis Bank Yields Deep-Earth Insight

I never imagined I would spend six weeks of my life “wandering around” the seafloor exploring an 11 million year old beach, and it never occurred to me to look for a fossil island. But that’s what I did, and that’s what we found on two research voyages separated by more than a decade.

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