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Geographical w

I magazine Founded by M ic h a e l Huxley in 193S

One-half of all dividends on the Ordinary Shares of THE GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE LIMITED are assigned to a fund for the advancement of exploration and research and the promotion of geographical knowledge. The fund is administered by a Board of Trustees, whose

Chairman Is the President of the Royal Geographical Society or his nominee.

November 1983 Volume LV Number 11


A state in devastation

RECESSION AND THE THIRD WORLD 2 The greatest debtors in the world

French trains go faster

DYNAMIC EARTH 1 On the threshold of landscape

Glaciers come and go in Greenland

When the air-age lifted off

THE POSSIBLE DREAM Lake O'Hara —high in the Rockies


Expedition Base


Geographers' World


The Lebanon in ruins

Robert Cockburn



Recession and high interest spell catastrophe for borrowers

Paris-Lyon express

How the land is changed

A millennium of climatic fluctuation

Bicentenary of the Montgolfier balloon flight

R N. Gwynne and Sue Cunningham 569

John Tuppen


J. B. Thornes


Alastair Dawson


John and Beryl Kington 587

Treks in Canada's far west

Hilary K. Blair

Nigel Winser

Lebanese army on patrol. Photograph: Robert Cockburn






© Country & Sporting Publications Ltd, 1983. THE GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. Telephone: 01-584 4436. Telegrams: Boundless, London SW7 Prices quoted in this issue were correct at the time of going to press. Subscription rates: UK £12; Canada $35.20: other overseas £16. Subscription Department Punch Publications Ltd Watling Street, Milton Keynes MK2 2BW. Telephone: 0908 71981. THE GEOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE, 1Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. US Mailing Agent: Expediters of the Printed Word Ltd, 527 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Frequency of issue: Monthly. Annual subscription rate: $35.20. 2nd class postage paid New York, NY ISSN No. 0016-741X. Editor: lain Bain Asst. Editor: David Shaw A rt Editor: Ashley Pope Asst. A rt Editor: Jean Lidbrooke Sub editors: Derek Leather and Carmel Pavageau Advertisement Manager: Steven Goldsmith 23-27 Tudor St., London EC4Y 0HR 01-583 9199 ext 375

T h e n a t u r e o f c h a n g e

In recent years science has been pervaded by new ideas about change. It is perhaps less of a scientific revolution than a growing sense that nature does not alter or develop in quite the way that we thought it did.

In the 1970s there was 'catastrophe theory’, Professor Rene Thom’s intriguing observation on the mathematics of sudden change. There were also new perspectives on evolution and palaeontology and it was argued that species did not evolve and develop in quite the steady progress that was originally suggested.

The study of landforms and the landscapes which they create is inevitably affected by this kind of thinking. In the earth sciences the way in which things change has been under considerable scrutiny for some time now. Results from deep sea drilling programmes, new skills by which past environments are inferred from varying kinds of geological record and the ability to computer-analyze large amounts of data using sophisticated techniques have combined to provide a different view of the way in which the earth changes its shape.

Today’sstudents of landforms find that old ideas about how landscapes develop are no longer so convincing. The steady and inexorable alteration of the earth’s surface is not so satisfactory as a general model of change. A modern alternative suggests that change may be more accurately described as a series of sudden events, with long periods between when nothing much happens.

At a time when geomorphologists are beginning to operate with a new frame of reference regarding change, the geographical magazine presents an important new series, Dynamic Earth. The series is edited by Professor J. B. Thornes of Bedford College, University of London and Dr Vince Gardiner of Leicester University. In coming months they and a carefully selected team of expert authors will review the science of geomorphology, introducing its basic topics in the light of new research.

Why dynamic earth? Because that word sums up the nature of the planet on which we live. In 200 million years’ time it is said that the geography of this world will have changed, completely altered by continental drift, mountain building and the forces of erosion. That's a long time, far beyond the scale of human perception, but the estimate, based on current processes, indicates an earth alive through change.

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