Mapping the Deep: The Extraordinary Story of Ocean Science

Mapping the Deep: The Extraordinary Story of Ocean Science

Robert Kunzig

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0393320634

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A vivid, up-to-date tour of the Earth's last frontier, a remote and mysterious realm that nonetheless lies close to the heart of even the most land-locked reader.

The sea covers seven-tenths of the Earth, but we have mapped only a small percentage of it. The sea contains millions of species of animals and plants, but we have identified only a few thousand of them. The sea controls our planet's climate, but we do not really understand how. The sea is still the frontier, and yet it seems so familiar that we sometimes forget how little we know about it. Just as we are poised on the verge of exploiting the sea on an unprecedented scale―mining it, fertilizing it, fishing it out―this book reminds us of how much we have yet to learn. More than that, it chronicles the knowledge explosion that has transformed our view of the sea in just the past few decades, and made it a far more interesting and accessible place. From the Big Bang to that far-off future time, two billion years from now, when our planet will be a waterless rock; from the lush crowds of life at seafloor hot springs to the invisible, jewel-like plants that float at the sea surface; from the restless shifting of the tectonic plates to the majestic sweep of the ocean currents, Kunzig's clear and lyrical prose transports us to the ends of the Earth.

Originally published in hardcover as The Restless Sea. "Robert Kunzig is a creator of what oceanographer Harry Hess once referred to as 'geopoetry.' He covers vast tracts of time and space and makes his subjects electrifying."―Richard Ellis, The Times [London] "The Restless Sea immediately surfaces at the top of the list of journalistic treatments of oceanography. . . .The book opened my eyes to numerous wonders."―Richard Strickland, American Scientist  "When you head for the coast this summer, leave that trashy beach novel at home. Instead, pack Robert Kunzig's book. Because just beyond your rental cottage lies the restless sea, where three-mile-tall mountain ranges criss-cross the ocean floor, and deep trenches harbor mysterious creatures. . . . The book is easy to read, and will bring you up to date on the startling discoveries oceanographers have made during the past few decades."―Phillip Manning, The News and Observer [Raleigh, North Carolina] ] "Anyone who loves the sea should read this book."―Sebastian Junger 8 pages of color, 20 black-and-white illustrations

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find away to get to both their fuel and their oxygen before the two meet on their own. To Cavanaugh, who is after all a microbiologist, the glorious jungles of animal life we see today at seafloor vents are but side effects of the way her inconspicuous bugs have contrived to solve this fundamental problem of theirs. Sulphur bacteria that live free in seawater or sediment have all sorts of tricks for getting the two elements they need. Some of them migrate back and forth with the sulphide-oxygen

the liquid phase rather than in the solid phase. But on the other hand, the region that is really just enormously rich in all volatiles, including water, is the outer part of the solar system, beginning somewhere in the outer asteroid belt and continuing all the way’out.” Earth has a lot of water – but “nothing close to what it could have ended up with,” according to planetary scientist James Pollack. To resolve this paradox, Pollack proposed a link between the two regions: comets. In 1986,

experiment. And we’d better know about ways, if we have to, to bring C02 out of the atmosphere. “The Chinese are not burning their coal right now – they have massive coal reserves. As they industrialize they’re going to want to use their coal. They’re not going to say, ‘Gee gang, we’re going to use solar power so we don’t put out greenhouse gases.’ The average Chinese peasant wants to have electricity, and a refrigerator, and maybe a motorbike – these people want to have the same stuff we’ve

World where the Spaniard saw only blank Pacific. We could fly low over the route Columbus took, marvelling at all he passed over in ignorance. Retracing his route on foot, we could hike across some of Earth’s flattest and most expansive plains, up into its youngest and most rugged mountain ranges, and down into its deepest valleys. Looking down at our planet from space, we could at last see it whole. We will never have that perspective, because we cannot see through even the clearest water for

fish. Canada, with a bigger problem and a long tradition of compensating unemployed or seasonally employed fishermen, has spent more than $1 billion. Clearly, when a public resource is being given to a group of people, who are then allowed to ruin it, and who must then be paid not to ruin it, a deep irrationality is at work. On that much most people can agree, but not on what to do about it. Economists say the problem with current fisheries management is precisely the open access: as long as the

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