Drummond Hoyle Matthews FRS was a British marine geologist and geophysicist and a key contributor to the theory of plate tectonics. His work, along with that of fellow Briton Fred Vine and Canadian Lawrence Morley, showed how variations in the magnetic properties of rocks forming the ocean floor could be consistent with, and ultimately help confirm, Harry Hammond Hess's 1962 theory of seafloor spreading. In 1989 he was awarded the Geological Society of London's highest honour, the Wollaston Medal.
During World War II he went to school at The Downs in Malvern, and then Bryanston School in Dorset. He became head boy at both.
Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift had never gained much scientific support due to its lack of any satisfactory mechanism to drive the process. During the 1950s, however, extensive surveys of the ocean floor revealed a global, linked system of mid-ocean ridges, all of which exhibited high thermal flow and considerable seismic activity. Hess hypothesized that new ocean crust was being formed at the ocean ridges by extrusions of magma from the Earth's mantle, and that convection currents within the mantle were continuously carrying the newly formed crust away from the ridge, widening the ocean basin and pushing the continents apart.