One geologist later described it as "probably the most significant paper in the earth sciences ever to be denied publication."
At all events, mobile crust was an idea whose time had finally come. A symposium of many of the most important figures in the field was convened in London under the auspices of the Royal Society in 1964, and suddenly, it seemed, everyone was a convert. The Earth, the meeting agreed, was a mosaic of interconnected segments whose various stately jostlings accounted for much of the planet's surface behavior.
The name "continental drift" was fairly swiftly discarded when it was realized that the whole crust was in motion and not just the continents, but it took a while to settle on a name for the individual segments. At first people called them "crustal blocks" or sometimes "paving stones." Not until late 1968, with the publication of an article by three American seismologists in the Journal of Geophysical Research , did the segments receive the name by which they have since been known: plates. The same article called the new science plate tectonics.
Old ideas die hard, and not everyone rushed to embrace the exciting new theory. Well into the 1970s, one of the most popular and influential geological textbooks, The Earth by the venerable Harold Jeffreys, strenuously insisted that plate tectonics was a physical impossibility, just as it had in the first edition way back in 1924.