Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 25 Issue 04

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Volume 25, No. 4
Pages 75 - 77


BOOK REVIEW • Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor

By William B.F. Ryan  
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Indeed, the life of a remarkable woman comes alive in Soundings by Hali Felt, published this past summer by Henry Holt & Company. I had the opportunity to befriend, work with, admire, cajole, mourn with, and visit with Marie Tharp from 1962 until her death in 2006. Her co-conspirator in mapping the ocean floor was Bruce Heezen, the mentor of my PhD dissertation at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University. In fact, when I arrived at Lamont, my office was so close to the module in which she sketched those extraordinary physiographic diagrams that I could hear her pen scratch across the drafting sheet as well as the common “oh dear” she would utter just seconds before the interminable rubbings of her eraser. Hundreds and hundreds of rubbings, followed by curses from Bruce, and the arguments back and forth would become an indelible part of my own education about how our planet works.


Ryan, W.B.F. 2012. Review of Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, by H. Felt. Oceanography 25(4):75–77, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.110.

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