For plate tectonics and the ocean floor, there’s lots of fascinating detail online. Try some of these start words; oceanic crust, oceanic trench, lithosphere, Moho, Glomar Challenger, joidesresolution, black smokers, Alfred Wegener, magnetic stripes. These sites will lead you onto lots of other locations – happy exploring.
Also online, Metageologist provides lots of reading about metamorphic rocks and connected topics.
If you prefer to cuddle up with a real book, Dorrik Stow’s ‘Vanished Ocean’ is a good read. It’s subtitled ‘how Tethys reshaped the world’. This refers to Tethys Ocean that has dominated global events over the last 250 million years. The author has worked in many parts of the world, and has seen many, and more varied rocks that most geologists ever have the opportunity to see. In this book he shares his lifetime of experience with the reader. Few geologists are as lucky as he has been with his postings. He reviews the story backwards from 2010.
Step back half a century to read the biography of Marie Tharp, by Hali Felt. The title is ‘Soundings: the Story of the Remarkable Woman who Mapped the Ocean Floor’. Read Tharp’s struggle to process the information with primitive equipment, and to have her work recognised, in the days when travel by air was a rare occurrence.
Delving further back in time, a more demanding, but equally fascinating story is the recent biography of Alfred Wegener, subtitled ‘Science Exploration and the Theory of continental Drift’ by Motte T. Greene. This book makes clear how difficult it was for scientists in the 20th Century to accept the idea that the continents could move around on the surface of the Earth. It agonisingly depicts the loneliness of being the first person to come up with a seemingly outrageous scientific idea, and how it feels to pursue it, when to do so risks losing friends, status, and employment.