Soundings - the story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
by Felt, Hali
pub. by Henry Holt and Company, NY, 2012 -   -   photos most in color   -   - Acknowledgements p. 323 - 326 -   -   Index p. 327-340     isbn 978-0-8050-9215-8   -   341 pages
This is the biography of Marie Tharp, geologist, scientist and mapmaker. She is most famous for her work at the Lamont Geological Observatory (part of Columbia University, NY), working with Dr. Bruce C. Heezen. She drew and illustrated the map of the mid-oceanic ridges and while doing so discovered the rift zone which revealed scientific proof in support of Alfred L. Wegners theory of continental drift. This may sound droll, but it was a fundamental find which as one eminent Princeton Univ. professor and head of the Geology Dept., Harry Hess, put it...You have shaken the foundations of geology...
This is a good read if you have any interest in the grander sweep of geology, and/or the way of science... how personalities and grants make life easy or difficult. It is also, in a minor way, a love story between two researchers who between them changed the world of geologic thought.
Marie drew the popular maps of the ocean floors which were published in National Geographic over a number of years.
. Bruce Heezen died of a heart attack in 1977 at age 53 aboard a US Navy research submarine the NP-1, leaving Marie Tharp to attempt to finish their work. Very shortly before his death they finished their world map of the floor of the oceans entitled - World Ocean Floor Panorama - It was published after he died. The map and others may still be available through
Marie Tharp began working at Lamont in 1948 and retired in 1982 at age 63. She continued her interest and work on an unofficial consulting basis. She managed to get her and Dr Heezens papers at least semi organized and some are available at the Smithsonian in a major collection, others are in the Library of Congress. Marie died on August 23, 2006. The Google Ocean map presentation has a - Marie Tharp Historical Map - layer to their map which fills in by interpolation what is not clearly known even in 2012.

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