Science is the concerted human effort to understand, or to understand better, the history of the natural world and how the natural world works, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding1. There are, of course, more definitions of science. An ecologist observing the territorial behaviors of bluebirds and a geologist examining the distribution of fossils in an outcrop are both scientists making observations in order to find patterns in natural phenomena.
Nearby, spread across several additional tables, lay her project—the largest and most detailed map ever produced of a part of the world no one had ever seen. For centuries, scientists had believed that the ocean floor was basically flat and featureless—it was too far beyond reach to know otherwise.
But the advent of sonar had changed everything. As she charted the measurements by hand on sheets of white linen, the floor of the ocean slowly took shape before her. Tharp spent weeks creating a series of six parallel profiles of the Atlantic floor stretching from east to west. Her drawings showed—for the first time—exactly where the continental shelf began to rise out of the abyssal plain and where a large mountain range jutted from the ocean floor.
Her maps also showed something else—something no one expected. Tharp stared at it. It had to be a mistake.
She crunched and re-crunched the numbers for weeks on end, double- and triple-checking her data. As she did, she became more convinced that the impossible was true: She was looking at evidence of a rift valley, a place where magma emerged from inside the earth, forming new crust and thrusting the land apart.
If her calculations were right, the geosciences would never be the same. A few decades before, a German geologist named Alfred Wegener had put forward the radical theory that the continents of the earth had once been connected and had drifted apart.
No force on Earth was thought powerful enough to move continents. Though her job at Columbia was simply to plot and chart measurements, she had more training in geology than most plotters—more, in fact, than some of the men she reported to.
Tharp had grown up among rocks. Her father worked for the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, and as a child, she would accompany him as he collected samples.
But she never expected to be a mapmaker or even a scientist. After Pearl Harbor, however, universities opened up their departments. At the University of Ohio, she discovered geology and found a mentor who encouraged her to take drafting.
Because Tharp was a woman, he told her, fieldwork was out of the question, but drafting experience could help her get a job in an office like the one at Columbia. After graduating from Ohio, she enrolled in a program at the University of Michigan, where, with men off fighting in the war, accelerated geology degrees were offered to women.
There, Tharp became particularly fascinated with geomorphology, devouring textbooks on how landscapes form. Studying the crack in the ocean floor, Tharp could see it was too large, too contiguous, to be anything but a rift valley, a place where two masses of land had separated.
When she compared it to a rift valley in Africa, she grew more certain.While writing a geology essay, first of all, a student needs to learn what this science is, what it explores, and what methods of research are commonly used.
First there are intrusive, or plutonic igneous rocks. [tags: Geology Geological Rock Essays Papers] Better Essays words | (2 pages) | Preview. Sedimentary Rocks - My essay focuses on the county of Greater Manchester in North West England.
A thriving metropolitan area, the county has been a place of interest since its rise in the.
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This exam was updated July 30, and includes new content and content outlines reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE). Essay on Methods of dating Basaltic rocks - Basalt is a common extrusive igneous rock, there are a large number of volcanic provinces across Southeast Australia . ABOUT THE AUTHORS Lorence G.
Collins is a retired professor of geology from California State University, Northridge.
He was educated at the University of Illinois and has special interests in the origin of granite and ore deposits.