How One Brilliant Woman Mapped The Secrets Of The Ocean Floor



Oceanic cartographer Marie Tharp helped prove the theory of continental drift with her detailed maps of the ocean floor.


This animation by Rosanna Wan for the Royal Institution tells the fascinating story of Tharp’s groundbreaking work.


photo credit: smithsonianmag

Despite the barriers of being a woman in the scientific community of the twentieth century, Marie Tharp’s work led to revolutionary discoveries and her maps of the ocean still affect us today.


With Tharp’s ocean floor maps in hand, scientists during the 1960s formulated a revolutionary theory, what is now the accepted idea of plate tectonics.

It wasn’t until recently, however, that Tharp earned due credit for her work. In 1997, twenty years after the publication of her ocean map by the U.S.

VIANational Geographic