Marie Tharp’s “aha” moment came in 1952. When arranging profiles she created of the North Atlantic ocean floor, she noticed a V-shaped indentation that ran along the center and matched those of other profiles she laid out. She thought it resembled some sort of rift valley, similar to the geological formation in East Africa, but this one deep on the seabed. Her findings, which appeared to support the notion of continental drift, were dismissed by her closest colleagues as scientific heresy and labeled as “girl talk.” Making it her mission to find the truth, Tharp continued to collect more and more data from different sources and eventually was proven right. Her discoveries led to the acceptance of plate tectonics, a geological pillar of understanding Earth’s systems.
In this episode of Pod of the Planet, we celebrate the life of Marie Tharp and the inspiration she’s been and continues to be to many scientists today. Vicky Ferrini, a marine geologist at Lamont, is one of those scientists, and she speaks about her work in carrying on Tharp’s legacy and her current project to map out the entire seafloor by 2030. And be sure to check out Vicky’s story map that gives a step-by-step look into how Tharp decoded her findings.
In the first part of this episode, Kyu talks with Marie DeNoia Aronsohn, Lamont’s director of communications, welcoming her to the Pod of the Planet family.