Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Marie Tharp and Continental Drift

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Earth & S0ace Science, Earth Systems, Geology, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

To set the stage for this video (4m 32s) about oceanographer and geologist Helen Tharp these notes from the Royal Institution may be helpful.

"In the early 20th century, Alfred Wegener proposed a revolutionary idea: that the Earth’s continents were once joined together, and had gradually moved apart. The idea contradicted almost everything scientists thought at the time, and it took the detailed work of a brilliant cartographer to prove him right. "Conventional ideas held that the ocean floors were flat, featureless planes. As expeditions started to go around the world collecting ocean depth measurements, Marie Tharp – not allowed to join the expeditions herself – processed the data and began to craft detailed, revealing maps of the hidden ocean depths. "She discovered that the ocean floor was in fact a complex assortment of peaks and troughs. In particular, her profiles revealed stark rift valleys, which supported Wegener’s controversial ideas. Even then, it took a long time to convince the scientific community that her findings were correct. Eventually, however, she was proved right, and Marie Tharp took her rightful place as one of history’s finest cartographers."

No comments:

Post a Comment