How Marie Tharp changed geology forever


EXCERPT: . . . The existence of a single ridge under the Atlantic Ocean was discovered during the expedition of HMS Challenger in 1872, taking depth measurements across the ocean. In 1925, it was confirmed by sonar that the ridge of unknown origin extends around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean, making it one of the largest mountain ranges on Earth. Marie Tharp suggested that the mid-Atlantic ridge was in fact a series of rift valleys, running parallel along a central axis where new oceanic crust is formed, pushing apart blocks of older seafloor, forming the ridge topography.

Her idea was rejected as "girl talk" at first. Even [Bruce] Heezen stubbornly refused to accept this explanation for the ridge, claiming that it sounded like the "debunked" continental drift hypothesis as proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. Between 1959 and 1977, she continued to work on various large-scale maps, showing that the mid-ocean ridges extended all the way around the planet. [...] Based on Tharp's work, later geologists will quickly accept and expand on the continental drift hypothesis.

[,,,] Unlike Alfred Wegener, who died in 1930, Marie Tharp lived long enough to see her research become a fundamental part of modern geology. "Not too many people can say this about their lives: The whole world was spread out before me (or at least, the 70 percent of it covered by oceans). I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities, a fascinating jigsaw puzzle to piece together: mapping the world’s vast hidden seafloor. It was a once-in-a-lifetime—a once-in-the-history-of-the-world—opportunity for anyone, but especially for a woman in the 1940s. The nature of the times, the state of the science, and events large and small, logical and illogical, combined to make it all happen." (MORE - details)
Despite the obvious physical gender differences, it’s still what’s between the ears that really counts. How much further along would humanity be if so many great minds weren’t’s sickening to think about it.
(Aug 2, 2020 03:27 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: How much further along would humanity be if so many great minds weren’t’s sickening to think about it.
Considering how few women enter STEM fields, even when encouraged, I'd wager not many.

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