Today, Google will celebrate the life of Marie Tharp, an American geologist and oceanographic cartographer, with a special interactive doodle on the Google homepage. On this day in 1998, the Library of Congress honors her as one of the greatest cartographers of the 20th century, and Google is celebrating the feat with a doodle. Tharp is also credited with creating the first scientific map of the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and proving theories of continental drift.
Today’s doodle features an interactive exploration of Tharp’s life, narrated by Caitlyn Larsen, Rebecca Nesel and Dr. Tiara Moore. Users simply click on the interactive doodle, which takes them to a number of illustrations documenting Marie Tharp’s life and career.
— Google Doodles EN (@Doodle123_EN) November 20, 2022
Follow Google doodle pageMarie Tharp was born on July 30, 1920 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Tharp’s father worked for the United States Department of Agriculture and soon introduced her to mapping, as the doodle suggests. She attended the University of Michigan for a 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 collected ocean depth data in the Atlantic, which Tharp used to create a map of the mysterious ocean floor. New findings from an echo meter (sonar used to find the depth of water) helped her discover the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. She brought these findings to Heezen, who infamously dismissed this as a “girl thing”. However, when they compared these V-shaped cracks with a map of the earthquake’s epicenter, Heezen couldn’t ignore the truth.”
In 1957, Mrs. 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 written by two geologists, titled “The World Ocean Bottom”. In 1995, Mrs. Tharp donated her entire map collection to the Library of Congress. On the 100th anniversary of the Department of Geography and Cartography, the Library of Congress honored her as one of the most important cartographers of the 20th century.
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