National Geographic : 1945 Jan
100 The National Geographic Magazine earth's past, and perhaps its future, that geologists would give almost anything to un cover. Great areas of the undersea world still are entirely unex plored. Groping and probing blindly in the depths with frail nets and tenuous sounding lines, explor ers of the ocean have worked under heavy handicaps. Often they have been seasick, cold, and wet. They've been bitten and poisoned by fish and jellyfish, and lost expensive in struments when wires or cables broke. They've watched fas cinating new species of sea crea tures brought up from the deeps, only to see many of them slip out of the nets at the last minute. Down through miles of water they've poked at ran dom with scoops and dredges for small samples of the enor mous ocean floor. They've tagged several mil lion fish, as people on land band birds, to trace their wanderings and check their growth. One halibut carried a tag 10 years (page 108). They've hunted whales, as the Prince of Monaco did, to study the fragments of giant squids in their stomachs. Be fore the days of sonic sounding with its high-speed measure ment of depth, they might spend hours paying out and reeling in a sounding line just to plumb the ocean at one deep place.* From all this we're just begin ning to understand the ocean, the mighty sweep of its cur rents, the cold, slimy ooze or clay on its dark bottom, the strange creatures that swim and drift in its waters, and its tem perature and saltiness, which vary from place to place. aurice ~E:wing Intriguing mysteries still hang over "old ocean's gray and mel Down to Photograph Davy Jones's Locker ancholy waste." How do A submarine camera for making photographs of the ocean bot tom, designed by I)r. Maurice Ewing, is lowered beneath a lead weight * See "Charting a World at War," from the research ship Atlantis. Camera was tested on a cruise spon- by William H. Nicholas, NATIONAL sored jointly by the National Geographic Society and Woods Hole GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for Novem Oceanographic Institution. ber, 1944.