Early Marine Seismics in Cambridge – Review
Bullard |Archive copyright 2015
The use of seismic techniques to investigate subsurface geology on land goes back to the 1920s in America where it was used for oil exploration, but it was not until 1936 that the attempts were made to use seismic investigations at sea. In Cambridge the first land seismics was done by Mr Edward Bullard and Tom Gaskell, Kier Grant and W.B.Harland in East Anglia from 1936 to 1938. The first marine seismics was undertaken by Professor Maurice Ewing of Princeton University (or was it before he went to Princeton ?) in about 1935, to whom credit is due for the taking the first steps into the unknown – at this time the no-one knew if hydrophones in the water would pick up seismic waves, or whether explosions near the surface could be substituted for charges placed on or in the seabed, so the initial course of action had to be to mimic land experiments as closely as possible by putting geophones and explosions directly on the seabed. Cambridge got in on the act pretty quickly! In 1937 Dr E.C.Bullard (Teddy, later Sir Edward Bullard) was invited to America by Professor R.M. Field, chairman of the American Geophysical Union for the Geophysical Study of Ocean Basins and went to sea with Ewing to witness the preliminary tests of the technique.