Is Today’s Google Doodle Honoring American Geologist Marie Tharp, And If So, Who Is She?

Who is Marie Tharp

When Marie Tharp first started working at what is now Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 1948, very little was known about the structure of the seafloor, which was widely assumed to be flat and featureless.

Tharp’s drawings showed that the seafloor is instead covered in canyons, ridges, and mountains when she and her colleague Bruce Heezen published the first map of the Atlantic in 1957.

Her maps eventually uncovered the mid-ocean ridges, a chain of mountains that stretches for more than 40,000 kilometers around the globe.

The first comprehensive map of ocean floors around the world was published in 1977 by Tharp and Heezen. Due in large part to their efforts, the theory of plate tectonics, the idea that the continents move over time, is now widely accepted. Almost everything we knew about the planet’s functioning was radically altered by this discovery.

When Tharp first began her career, there were relatively few opportunities for women in the scientific field. She used data from research cruises in the 1960s and ’70s to create her maps of the ocean floor,

but she was barred from participating in such expeditions because of her gender until 1968. The first signs of seafloor spreading she observed were written off as “girl talk.”

Marie Tharp is widely acknowledged today as a revolutionary force in the field of dance. She was recognized as one of the 20th century’s four most influential cartographers by the Library of Congress in 1997. Although she passed away in 2006 at age 86 due to cancer, her legacy lives on through the many women scientists she encouraged.

Who Was Marie Tharp?

Marie Tharp, one of Michigan’s most brilliant minds, was born on July 30, 1920.

She developed an early fascination with maps and a talent for cartography. Today’s Doodle features Caitlyn Larsen, Rebecca Nesel, and Dr. Tiara Moore,

three accomplished women who continue Tharp’s work in the male-dominated fields of ocean science and geology.

Work & Study

She attended U-M to earn her master’s degree in petroleum geology. As the Lamont Geological Observatory’s first female employee, she met and fell in love with fellow geologist Bruce Heezen not long after relocating to New York City in 1948.

Heezen gathered depth readings from the Atlantic Ocean, and Tharp used those readings to make maps of the deep sea’s mysterious bottom. When Tharp completed his first ocean floor map in 1957,

Work & Study

it was the first of its kind. It took National Geographic 20 years to publish the ocean floor map created by Tharp and Heezen. The mysterious ocean floor map was dubbed “The World Ocean Floor.” (Your Children Will Benefit Greatly from Trying These Ocean Yoga Poses, Suggested by the Experts)

Tharp donated her entire map collection to the Library of Congress in 1995. (How Do I Find My Way Around Google Maps?) Observe This Full Tutorial) In 2001,

Tharp was honored with the Lamont-Doherty Heritage Award from the Lamont Geological Observatory, where she got her start in the scientific community.

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The Theory Of Continental Drift

A rough outline of the ocean floor’s shape was unknown to scientists until the early 1950s. Although studying geology on land has become less difficult and more cost-effective, the general form of the planet can’t be grasped without also knowing the form and evolution of the seafloor.

Carefully, Tharp aligned sounding profiles received by Atlantis between 1946 and 1952, as well as one profile received by the Naval deliver Stewart in 1921, in 1952.

The Theory Of Continental Drift

She made about six profiles, from west to east across the North Atlantic. Those profiles allowed her to examine the bathymetry of the northern parts of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Tharp suspected that the alignment of the v-shaped feature along the ridge’s axis indicated the presence of a rift valley. For her, the rift valley’s formation was due to the ocean floor being torn apart. Even though the idea could have supported continental waft, Heezen was initially skeptical.

A large number of scientists, including Heezen, at the time, deemed a change in continental waft impossible. Instead, he wanted the rising Earth rumors, dismissing her explanation as “female talk” (now infamously). In a race against time to solve a problem involving large-scale turbidity currents and earthquakes beneath the ocean, Heezen hired Howard Foster to figure out where the epicenters would be.

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Awards And Achievements

  •  Tharp donated her map collection and notes to the Map and Geography Division of the Library of Congress in 1995.
  • In 1997, Tharp received double honors from the Library of Congress, which named her one of the four greatest cartographers of the 20th century and included her work in an exhibit in the 100th-anniversary celebration of its Geography and Map Division.
  • In 2001, Tharp was awarded the first annual Lamont–Doherty Heritage Award at her home institution for her life’s work as a pioneer of oceanography.
  • 2001 – Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory Heritage Award
  • 1999 – Woods Holes Oceanographic Institution’s Mary Sears Woman Pioneer in Oceanography Award
  • 1996 – Society of Woman Geographers Outstanding Achievement Award
  • 1978 – National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal

Last words

Oceanographer and geologist from the United States, Marie Tharp Together, made a crucial map of the ocean floor. Tharp was inspired by the map to explore the ocean floor in search of evidence supporting continental drift, the scientific hypothesis that the continents are in motion.


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Karan Siradi

I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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