Bestraught by moity and moisty

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are mighty distracting. While looking up Moho, I found moity and moisty in the OED. At least there is the beer quote from Chaucer to relate one of the words to geologists.

moity: Of wool: containing particles of wood or other foreign substances.


moisty: 2.  Of beer: new, fresh; = Obs.

c1390  Chaucer Manciple’s Tale 60  For were it wyn or old or moisty ale That he hath dronke, he speketh in his nose.

Vulgarly “The Moho”

Our new map “Tectonic framework of the Alps / Carte tectonique des Alpes” includes an ancillary map titled “Moho depth map = Carte de profondeur du Moho.” We got our moho working…

Tectonic Framework of the Alps

The OED gives the definition of Moho:

Moho: The discontinuity between the earth’s crust and the mantle which is believed to exist at a depth of about 10–12 km (6–7½ miles) under the ocean beds and 40–50 km (25–30 miles) under the continents. Also called Mohorovičić discontinuity.

1956  Adv. Geophysics 3 118  The now called the Mohorovičić discontinuity (vulgarly ‘The Moho’).

The Glossary of Geology defines it as:

Moho (Mo’-ho) Abbreviated form of Mohorovicic discontinuity, suggested by Birch (1952, p.229). Sp: discontinuidad de Mohorovicic.

The Disambiguation of Isoline

The Geology Library recently acquired several maps published by the Commission for the Geological Map of the World. The Tectonic Map of Antarctica shows, among other things, “isolines of sub-ice bedrock relief in central East Antarctica: a) sea-level; b) above sea level; c) below sea level.”Tectonic Map of Antarctica


Isolines are considered in map cataloging as “Relief shown by contour lines.”

According to the OED:


1944  V. Conrad Methods in Climatol. xiii. 167  Isolines..are fully analogous to contour lines, or to the equipotential lines used in physics… Closed isolines surrounding a region indicate that this is either depressed or elevated.

Contour lines n. a line representing the horizontal contour of the earth’s surface at a given elevation; the contour line of a mountain at a given height represents the edge of a horizontal plane cutting the mountain at that height; a series of such lines at successive elevations laid down on a map shows the elevations and depressions of the surface.

Isopachyte: A line on a map or diagram joining points below which a particular stratum or group of strata has the same thickness.

But Isoline is also an opera based “on a text by Catulle Mendès, with music by André Messager.” Although Isoline has an intriguing plot of faeries, love, and gender changes, the opera was not considered a success. Mostly this opera is remembered for a ballet sequence (of which the University Libraries owns a couple of copies, e.g. Messager, André, 1853-1929 ; Suites from the ballets Isoline & Les deux pigeons. Fine Arts Library Remote Storage PHNDISC MU 33,073).

G.E. Grikurov, L. Leychenkov, Tectonic Map of Antarctica, CCGM-CGMW 2012.