Tharp with an undersea map at her desk. Rolled sonar profiles of the ocean floor are on the shelf behind her.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp
Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
New research confirms that massive plumes of buoyant hot rock once rose from near the Earth's core to the surface and triggered vast volcanic eruptions - and that New Zealand sits on top of one.
The submersible Alvin about 8,500 feet down, studying seafloor volcanoes and eruptions.
(c) Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with thanks to Daniel Fornari – WHOI-MISO Facility (www.whoi.edu/miso) and National Science Foundation
When you study volcanoes at mid-ocean ridges, doing fieldwork means becoming an aquanaut – diving thousands of feet to the ocean floor in the submersible Alvin, trading tight quarters for amazing views.