Bruce C. Heezen

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Bruce Charles Heezen
Tharp & Heezen.jpg
Marie Tharp and Bruce Heezen
Born (1924-04-11)April 11, 1924
Vinton, Iowa
Died June 21, 1977(1977-06-21) (aged 53)
Residence United States
Citizenship United States
Nationality United States
Fields Geology, Oceanography
Institutions Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Alma mater University of Iowa
Columbia University
Known for Seafloor topography
Notable awards Cullum Geographical Medal (1973)

Bruce Charles Heezen (April 11, 1924 – June 21, 1977) was an American geologist.[1] He worked with oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp at Columbia University to map the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the 1950s.


Heezen was born in Vinton, Iowa. An only child, he moved at age six with his parents to Muscatine, Iowa, where he graduated from high school in 1942. He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1947. He received his M.A. in 1952 and a Ph.D in 1957 from Columbia University.

Heezen collaborated extensively with cartographer Marie Tharp. He interpreted their joint work on the Mid-Atlantic ridge as supporting S. Warren Carey's Expanding Earth Theory, developed in the 1950s,[2] but under Tharp's influence "eventually gave up the idea of an expanding earth for a form of continental drift in the mid-1960s."[3]

Heezen died of a heart attack in 1977 while on a research cruise to study the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near Iceland aboard the NR-1 submarine.[4]

The Oceanographic Survey Ship USNS Bruce C. Heezen was christened in honor of him in 1999.[5]


  1. ^ "Bruce C. Heezen". Physics Today. 30 (11): 77. November 1977. doi:10.1063/1.3037805. 
  2. ^ Oreskes, Naomi, 2003, Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth, Westview Press, p. 23, ISBN 0813341329
  3. ^ Frankel, Henry, The Continental Drift Debate, Ch. 7 in Scientific controversies, p. 226, 1987, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-27560-6
  4. ^ "Marie Tharp Bio". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 2006-12-12. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  5. ^ "Navy's Newest Ocean Survey Ship Will Offer Public Tours August 3 for Lamont Community August 4 & 5 at Intrepid Pier". The Earth Institute. 2000-07-14. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 

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