Russell Watson Raitt Papers
2010-46

Summary Information

Repository
Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives
Creator
Raitt, Russell Watson, 1907-1995
Title
Russell Watson Raitt Papers
ID
2010-46
Date
1932 - 1987
Extent
3.39 Cubic feet : 9 manuscript boxes, 1/2 legal manuscript box, 1 oversized folder
Language
English

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Biography

Geophysicist Russell Watson Raitt was born in Philadelphia in 1907. He earned his bachelor’s degree at California Institute of Technology in physics in 1929, and then worked for two years at the Hercules Powder Company. Returning to Caltech, he studied physics under Robert Millikan, and earned his Ph.D. in 1935 with the dissertation Direct Measurement of Alpha Particle Activities of Rocks and Determination of Thorium.

Raitt founded Geophysical Engineering Corporation with Caltech graduates Josh Soske and Raymond Peterson just after graduation. The company used reflection prospecting to search for oil in the Los Angeles Basin, surveyed the Pasadena water basin, and did refraction prospecting in the San Joaquin Valley.

In 1941, Raitt joined the University of California Division of War Research to conduct research in acoustics, using explosives and echo-ranging transducers to measure underwater sound propagation and scattering and reflection from the sea floor. Raitt and the UCDWR researchers observed the phantom bottom, in which instruments recorded a deep sea floor as being shallow, and called it the Deep Scattering Layer. Martin W. Johnson later suggested this layer was composed of biological organisms.

After the closing of UCDWR in 1945, Raitt joined UC Marine Physical Laboratory as a senior research associate. MPL joined SIO in 1948; Raitt became associate professor at SIO in 1949 and professor in 1956. He taught courses in the principles of underwater sound and conducted sound reflection studies off the coast of San Diego. Later he began using explosives for reflection studies off Erben Bank, Guadalupe Island, Cedros Island, and the San Benitos. His research was later used to select the sites for test holes and the location of the Experimental Mohole drilled by CUSS I in 1961.

Raitt began using two ships for refraction profiling in 1949, with one ship as the shooter and the other as receiver. His research group experimented with a variety of hydrophones, and used what may have been the first towed seismic array. He also participated in Merle A. Tuve’s 1949 project to determine the structure of the earth’s crust.

On the Mid-Pacific Expedition in 1950, Raitt recorded 1200 miles of refraction profiles, including reversed profiles inside Kwajalein Lagoon and Bikini Lagoon. He discovered that the average sediment thickness of the Pacific Ocean basin was very thin, and his research revealed a low-velocity layer called Layer 2, later discovered to be pillow basalts.

Raitt continued his refraction studies on the 1952-1953 Capricorn Expedition, using larger explosives. All but four stations reached the Mohorovicic discontinuity, revealing a thin sediment thickness even in the Tonga Trench. The Capricorn Expedition also discovered an extensive anomalously low mantle velocity beneath the crest of the East Pacific Rise. Later research by Raitt, George Shor, and Robert L. Fisher mapped increasing crust thickness from the ridge crest to the trench, and contributed to the developing the theory of seafloor spreading.

In 1964, Harry Hess observed that the velocity of seismic waves within the mantle in Raitt’s data appeared to be faster east to west than north to south. Further research by Raitt with multiple ships on the Show Expedition in 1966 proved the existence of anisotropy of seismic velocity in the mantle.

Raitt participated in two Soviet Research cruises in 1971 and 1973, and helped establish the “Cambridge Connection” that brought many Cambridge researchers, including Sir Edward Bullard, to Scripps. His doctoral students included Richard Phillips, Donald Helmberger, Gerald Morris, Richard Von Herzen, Victor Anderson, and John Orcutt.

Many of Raitt’s scientific results were unpublished by him, but he kept detailed field notes that were used by other researchers, such as Spudich and Orcutt in 1980 on the physical properties of the ocean crust. Raitt pioneered the use of sonobuoys, towed hydrophone arrays, and the digital recording of data, writing much of the software himself. In addition to the scientific use of computers, he spent twenty years creating computer generated art. Russell Raitt passed away in 1995 at the age of 87.

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Scope and Content

Papers of geophysicist Russell Watson Raitt documenting his research on gravity, heat flow, underwater sound, seismic anisotropy, seismic refraction studies, bottom reverberation, Bikini Atoll, Tonga Trench, and Eniwetok Atoll, and his participation with UCDWR, MPL, and the Capricorn and Mid-Pacific Expeditions. The collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, laboratory notebooks, and teaching materials.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives

University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive #0219
La Jolla, California, 92093-0219

Provenance

The collection was received from Gary Wellwood, who found it in storage at the SIO Mt. Soledad facility and gave it to SIO Archives on 29 November 2010.

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)

  • Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands)
  • Capricorn Expedition, 1952-1953
  • Eniwetok Atoll (Marshall Islands)
  • Geophysics
  • Mid-Pacific Expedition, 1950
  • Ocean sounds--Measurement
  • Oceanographic Instruments
  • Oceanography--History
  • Physical Oceanography
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography--History
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Marine Physical Laboratory
  • Tonga Trench
  • Underwater acoustics
  • University of California Division of War Research, 1941-1946

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Collection Inventory

Correspondence 

 1951 - 1959 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 1

 1959 - 1966 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 2

1966 - 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 3

 1975 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 4

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Eckart Lectures, 1947 - 1949 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 5

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Parker Inverse Theory, 1972 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 6

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R.W. Raitt, SIO Class 244 & 226 A, 1971 Class Notes and Extra Reprints, 1971 - 1972 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 7

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Raitt Notes, 1952 - 1976 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 8

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Gravity, 1936 - 1987 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 9

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Heat Flow - Bullard, Maxwell, Revelle, 1953 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 10

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Documents, 1957 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 11

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Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1956 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 12

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A Problem of Combined Radial and Axial Heat Flow in a Radially Infinite Composite Cylindrical Region, 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 13

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Post IGY (International Geophysical Year), 1958 - 1959 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 14

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Lockheed, 1959 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 15

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NSF Heat Grant Flow, 1958 - 1959 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 16

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Students, Miscellaneous, 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 1

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Underwater Sound, 1947 - 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 2

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MPL (Marine Physical Laboratory) Quarterly Report Contributions, 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 3

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Wigwam, 14 May 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 4

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Rome, 1952 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 5

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Correspondence, 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 6

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UCLA Schedule of Classes, 1948 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 7

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Swedish Expedition, 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 8

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Echo-Sounder, 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 9

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PAS (Pelagic Area Studies), 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 10

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UCDWR-39 (University of California Division of War Research), 1943 - 1951 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 11

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Epstein, E&M 1st Term, R.W. Raitt 654B, 1932 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 12

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Thoughts and Notes, 1961 - 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 13

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Cruises, 1957 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 14

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Ewing, J.I., et al, Caribbean Paper, 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 15

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Raitt (Hold). Oceanography 218B, 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 16

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Notes, Letters, etc., 1950 - 1963 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 17

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Notes 

 n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 18-19

 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 20

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Reprints, 1950 - 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 21

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Internal Constitution of the Earth, 3 January, 1972 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 22

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Anisotropy of Horizontal Compressions Wave Velocity in the Upper Mantle, February 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 23

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ES (Earth Sciences) Proposals, 1963 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 24

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Specialists - Appointment and Review, 1961 - 1970 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 25

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Lamont Proposals, NSF, 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 26

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Source Depths. Argo - Doghouse, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 1

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MPL, Anisotropy of the Upper Pacific Mantle, 1966 - 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 2

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Miscellaneous Letters, 1969 - 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 3

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Notes, 1933 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 4

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Sediment Thickness, Revelle and Raitt, 1956 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 5

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Class Notes 

ES 246A 1968 Vol. I, 1967 - 1968 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 6

ES 246A 1968 Vol. II, 1968 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 7

Class Notes IV, 1959 - 1961 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 8

SIO Class 244 & 226A Feb. & Mar 1972, Notes and Reprints 

1971 - 1972 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 1

 1939 - 1971 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 2

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Bubble Pulse. Arons and Yennie Pulse, 1964 


    Oversize
Graphic materials   1
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 3

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Gilbert's Lecture Notes. Theoretical Seismology, Earth Science 247, 1965 - 1966 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 4

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Multiple Bottom Reflections from Layered Structures, 7 December 1966 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 5

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The Direct Measurement of Alpha Particle Activities of Rocks and the Determination of Thorium. Thesis by Russell W. Raitt, 1935 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 6

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Propagation of Explosive Sound Beneath the Sea Floor. Acoustical Society Meeting, Los Angeles, Calif.,  17 Nov. 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 7

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CUSP and other Cruises. AGU Meetings, 2-4 May 1955, 1950 - 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 8

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Some Results of Seismic Studies on Capricorn Expedition. Seismological Society of America, University of Washington, Seattle, 26-27 March 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 9

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Institute of Geophysics Technical Conference, Los Angeles, Calif., 4-5 Nov. 1953. The Pacific Basin - Some Results from the Capricorn Expedition, 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   4 10

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Geophysical Measurements, 1950 - 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 1

Symposium on Oceanographic Instrumentation, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., June 1952, 1952 - 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 2

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Seismic Measurement in the Southern Indian Ocean, Francis and Raitt, 1966 - 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 3

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Topography and Structure of the Peru-Chile Trench, Fisher and Raitt, 1962 


    Oversize
Graphic materials   2
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 4

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Seismic Refraction Studies, 5 February 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 5

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South American Trench Paper, 1958 - 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 6

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Proceedings of the XX International Geological Congress, Mexico, 1958. Seismic Studies in the Southern California Continental Borderland. G.G. Shor, Jr. and R.W. Raitt, 1955 - 1958 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 7
    Oversize
Graphic materials   3

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Eniwetok 

Eniwetok Report, 1953 - 1957 


    Oversize
Graphic materials   4
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 8

Ivy Final Report Project 11.4, 1953 - 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 9

 1950 - 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 10

 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 11

Seismic-Refraction Studies of Eniwetok Atoll. Geol. Surv. Pro. Paper 260-S, 1957. 1953 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   5 12

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Tonga Trench 

The Tonga Trench, 11 October 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 1
    Oversize
Graphic materials   5

Tonga Trench. Raitt, Fisher and Mason. Geol. Soc. Am. Special Paper 62, p. 237-254, 1955. 1954 - 1955 


    Oversize
Graphic materials   6
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 2

The Tonga Trench. Raitt et al, 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 3

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Bikini Atoll 

Seismic-Refraction Studies of Bikini and Kwajalein Atolls. Geol. Surv. Prof. Paper 260-K, 1954. 1953 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 4

Bikini Report, 1950 - 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 5

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Reverberation in the Sea. C.F. Eyring, R.J. Christensen & R.W. Raitt. J. Acoustical Soc. Am., vol. 20, no. 4, p. 426-475, Illustrations. July 1948 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 6

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Seismic Refraction Studies 

Seismic Refraction Studies of the Pacific Ocean Basin. Part I: Crustal Thickness of the Central Equatorial Pacific. GSA Bull. vol. 67, p. 1623-1639, Dec. 1956. 1955 - 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 7

Revision for: Seismic Refraction Studies of the Pacific Ocean, 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 8

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Graphs, Correspondence, 1959 - 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 9

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Laboratory Notebooks 

 1944 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 1

 1946 - 1956 

Seismic Amplifier Calibration Data, 1948 - 1949 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

Test Data and Calibration Data, March 1948 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

 20 May 1948 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

24 May 1948. May - December 1948 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

Filter Calibrations, 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

Calibrations of Seismic Equipment, Vol. 3. 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

Geophone Tests, 1949 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

Hydrophone Tests, 1946 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 2

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Workbooks 

Workbook I, 1949 - 1957 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 3

Workbook II, 1957 


    Oversize
Mixed materials   7
    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 4

Workbook III, 1957 - 1960 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 5

Workbook V, 1963 - 1965 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 1

 1965 - 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 2

 1965 - 1966 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 3

 1939 - 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 4

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Gloria Slack's Black Book, 1950 - 1982 

Correspondence, 1982 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Layer Calculations, 1954 - 1955 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

General Information, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Least Square Fit, 1950 - 1961 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Seismic Cruises, 1950 - 1966 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Preparing Graphs for Publication, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Layer Program, 1962 - 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

COD (Calculation of Deviance), n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

SOB (Structure of Bottom), 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Gloria Slack's Work Up Notes for Early Cruises: Cusp, Chubasco, Capricorn, Arguello, Vizcaino Bay. 1954 - 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Intensities, 1952 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

DB Table (Decibels), n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Olivetti Layer Program, Nova, 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Old Supply Lists, 1967 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

Flora, 19 August 1965 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 5

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Photographs and Illustrations 

Negatives, 1942 - 1947 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 6

Figures, 1947 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 7

Raitt's Slides, 1973 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 8

Photographs and Postcards, 1968 - 1979 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   8 9

Photos for "Slides of the Deep Scattering Layer" M445 Sonar Data Division, RW Raitt, 1947 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 1

Photographs, Reel 1, Set 2, 12 March 1945 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   9 2

Photographs, Reel 1, Set 3, 16 March 1945 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   9 3

Photographs, Reel 1, Set 6, 16 March 1945 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   9 4

Photographs, Reel 2, Set 7, 12 March 1947 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   9 5

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Cruises, 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 6

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Dorman, 1972 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 7

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Gravity, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 8

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Class Notes 

 1961 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 9

 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 10

 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 11

Ditto Stencils, 1961 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 12

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Scattering from a Very Thin Surface Layer, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 13

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Bottom Reverberations, 1942 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 14

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Theory of Bottom Reverberation, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 15

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Sphere Reflections - Intensities, 1942 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 16

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HMS Challenger, 1953 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 17

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Pt. Sur, August 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 18
    Oversize
Graphic materials   8

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Correspondence, 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 19

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Research Program, 1952 - 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 20

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Volume Reverberation at 10, 20, 40, and 90 KC, n.d. 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 21

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Gravity, 1953 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 22

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Personnel, 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 23

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Sound Transmission, 1954 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 24

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Electronics Club, 6 June 1959 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 25

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Eniwetok Illustrations, 1953 


    Box Folder
Graphic materials   9 26
    Oversize
Graphic materials   9

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Seismic Work on Sea Floor off Southern California, 4 January 1950 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   9 27

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Russian Work 

 1958 - 1960 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 1

 1957 - 1964 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 2

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Geophysics Orientation Lecture, 30 April 1968 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 3

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Indonesian Paper, 1933 - 1962 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 4
    Oversize
Mixed materials   10

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Siqueiros Expedition, 1974 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 5

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Pasadena Local Shots, 1949 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 6

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Cambridge, 1956 


    Box Folder
Mixed materials   10 7

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