Google is today celebrating the life of Marie Tharp, an American geologist and oceanographic cartographer, with a special and interactive doodle on its homepage. On this day in 1998, the Library of Congress named her one of the greatest cartographers of the 20th century, and Google is celebrating the feat with a doodle. Ms Tharp is also credited with creating the first scientific map of the Atlantic Ocean floor and proving the theories of continental drift.
Today’s doodle features an interactive exploration of Ms Tharp’s life, as narrated by Caitlyn Larsen, Rebecca Nesel, and Dr Tiara Moore. Users just need to click on the interactive doodle, which takes them to several illustrations that chronicle Marie Tharp’s life and career.
— Google Doodles EN (@Doodle123_EN) November 20, 2022
According to the Google doodle page, Marie Tharp was born on July 30, 1920, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ms Tharp’s father worked for the US Department of Agriculture and gave her an early introduction to mapmaking, as the doodle suggests. She attended the University of Michigan for her master’s degree in petroleum geology. In 1948, she moved to New York City and became the first woman to work at the Lamont Geological Observatory where she met geologist Bruce Heezen.
”Heezen gathered ocean-depth data in the Atlantic Ocean, which Tharp used to create maps of the mysterious ocean floor. New findings from echo sounders (sonars used to find water depth) helped her discover the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. She brought these findings to Heezen, who infamously dismissed this as “girl talk”. However, when they compared these V-shaped rifts with earthquake epicentre maps, Heezen could not ignore the facts,” says the Google page dedicated to Ms Tharp.
In 1957, Ms Tharp and Mr Heezen co-published the first map of the ocean floor in the North Atlantic. Two decades later, National Geographic published the first world map of the entire ocean floor penned by the two geologists, titled “The World Ocean Floor.” In 1995, Ms Tharp donated her entire map collection to the Library of Congress. On the 100th anniversary celebration of its Geography and Map Division, the Library of Congress named her one of the most important cartographers in the 20th century.
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