1977 saw the creation of the world’s first complete map of the ocean floor, completed by two oceanographers from Columbia University named Marie Tharp and Bruce Heezen. Their map helped show what nobody had ever seen before, what it actually looked like at the bottom of the sea.

mapping the ocean floor - marie tharp maps Image Source: Marie Tharp Maps

Early As 1952

Mountains, caverns and how the sea floor curved around continents were documented earlier by Tharp and Heezen from 1952 when they first began mapping the ocean floor. Tharp also discovered that in fact continental drift was no longer fictional, but that it was actually happening at the rate of millimetres per day. This was a very important discovery.

Accurate Against All Odds

Tharp, who drew the maps, first started with creating individual maps of each of the oceans and then put them all into one map. Working with limited data obtained by sonar readings from ships, Tharp had to use her training and knowledge to put together an approximate map which has since been proven largely correct.

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An incredible story of curiosity and tenacity!

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Read more about this story on the Intelligent Life magazine.

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