Our understanding of the deep seafloor was a near total mystery until the late 19th century when efforts to plumb the ocean depths were first organized. Seafloor mapping received sporadic attention in the mid- to late-20th century, spurred first by economic interests in laying trans-ocean communication cables and exploiting natural resources above, on and beneath the seafloor, and later by territorial interests in establishing ownership of the seabed. Basic research aims to understand the origin and processes that shape the 70% of Earth covered by water. A wide range of technological advances in the last 4 decades has led to an astonishing leap forward in our knowledge of the seascape hidden from ordinary view.
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Back to The 37th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (May 22-25, 2005)