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Authors: Scalera, G. 
Title: Samuel Warren Carey - Commemorative memoir
Issue Date: May-2003
Keywords: History of global tectonic theories
Expanding Earth
S.W. Carey
Subject Classification05. General::05.03. Educational, History of Science, Public Issues::05.03.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: Emeritus Professor Samuel Warren Carey passed away on 20 March 2002 at age 90. He was born at Campbelltown, New South Wales on 1st November 1911, and attended school at the Canterbury Boys High School. Carey’s father was a printer, who became a public lecturer when he arrived in Australia. His mother’s people were early Australian settlers. The Carey home was a farm near Campbelltown and as a boy, little Samuel walked nearly seven miles to School and back each day, an activity that prepared him for work in harsh climatic and environmental conditions. Sam Carey’s large family included two sisters and four brothers, one of whom died in World War II. At the University of Sydney, in 1929, Carey enrolled in chemistry, physics, and mathematics and only as a fourth subject – geology. However, he was soon reoriented towards geology as his main subject by Sir Edgeworth David, an Antarctic explorer. This preference developed from his liking for fieldwork in geology, combined with lab work. He was strongly inclined towards sports (hockey, sailing, rugby, marksmanship, canoeing) and physical activities (cave exploration, rock climbing, hiking, jungle expeditions, parachuting). He graduated in Geology from the University of Sydney earning a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in 1933, Master of Science in 1934, and Doctor of Science in 1939. At university he founded the Student’s Geological Society in 1931 and was its first president. He has been a pioneer in geology all his life. He was fortunate to participate as a protagonist for two and possibly three revolutions in the Earth sciences. He challenged the concept of continents in fixed positions from the outset and from 1946 to 1956 he taught a version of intercontinental movement with subduction in deep ocean trenches. This came to be called ‘plate tectonics’ some twenty years later but at the time when no one believed in any form of intercontinental movement, Carey’s version was also called ‘continental drift’ by default. Carey developed a new way to interpret orogens. He did not ascribe the building of mountain chains to compression – as is commonly accepted by the geological community involved in contraction or pulsation tectonics. Carey ascribed it to isostatic instability where rising mantle beneath deep sediment filled trenches causes diapiric uplift. The observed folding was explained as the consequent downward gravitational sliding of uplifted strata. This mountain building concept is still considered valid today and it constitutes part of a more diversified classification of mountain evolution that has been developed by Cliff Ollier. Carey proposed abandonment of the subduction concept, and put forward step by step the concept of Earth expansion. Carey – using the orocline concept – generalised his views on movement between continents, demonstrating that the continents could fit together better if the Earth was smaller in size.
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