Walter C. Pitman, III

Walter C. Pitman, III

Walter Clarkson Pitman, III is a geophysicist and a professor emeritus at Columbia University.

Early life

Pitman was born in Newark, New Jersey on 21 October, 1931 [] . He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1956 from Lehigh University and went to work for Hazeltine Corporation from 1956 to 1960 [] .

Earth Science Career

After becoming interested in oceanography during his time at Hazeltine, Pitman left the company and went to Columbia to pursue a career in the sciences. He worked as a technician for the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory research fleet [] for one year before returning to earn a Ph.D. in geophysics.

His thesis work led to the publication in "Science" in 1966 of "Magnetic Anomalies over the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge" with Jim Heirtzler, the paper that showed the symmetry of the magnetic anomalies of the famous "Eltanin" 19 profile along the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. This paper confirmed the Morley-Vine-Matthews seafloor-spreading hypothesis and caused the unification of the geological world around the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

Since this time, Pitman has been at the forefront of several topics related to geology, geophysics, and plate tectonics. Recently, he published a much-discussed book with William Ryan, "Noah's Flood", which claimed that the Black Sea had once been half its current size before being flooded when the connection to the Mediterranean Sea was formed. This flood destroyed an ancient civilization and fundamentally altered the region's ecosystem.


cite book
last = Ryan
first = William
coauthors = Walter Pitman
title = Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History
publisher = Simon & Schuster
date = 1997
isbn = 978-0684859200


cite web
title = The Vetlesen Prize
publisher = Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
date = 2004-07-09
url =
accessdate = 2007-01-23

cite web
title = Pitman Receives Ewing Medal
publisher = American Geophysical Union
date = 2005-09-22
url =
accessdate = 2007-01-23

NAME=Pitman, Walter Clarkson
DATE OF BIRTH=1931-10-21

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