National Geographic : 1941 Mar
Indian Ocean Map Spans Far East News Centers STRATEGIC places and naval bases of the Orient are spotlighted on the Na tional Geographic Society's new map of the Indian Ocean region, which reaches 1,100,000 members this month as a supple ment to their Magazine.* With insets of Suez, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Guam, this 10-color chart, 25/2 by 3234 inches, portrays the vast world "down under." It includes all of Australia, large portions of Asia and Africa, and some of the world's most produc tive and densely populated islands. Within its boundaries is the area extending from Turkey and Soviet Russia to desolate Heard Island at the door of the Antarctic, from Tokyo to the Cape of Good Hope, and from the embattled Mediterranean to the tip of Tasmania. Highest Peak and Deepest Ocean Spot Here appear the earth's highest mountain and its deepest ocean hole. Off the Philip pines in the Pacific lies Mindanao Deep, where the world's record sounding of 35,400 feet, or about 6.7 miles, has been taken, while 2,900 miles to the northwest soars majestic Mount Everest, 29,002 feet high, or nearly 512 miles. Together they represent a 12-mile vertical span. In this area are some of the world's last major unexplored places-and some of its most populous lands. The interior of the Arabian Peninsula, largest uncharted area outside the polar regions, has been crossed in recent years by white men, but has never been thoroughly investigated. The comparative emptiness of this gigantic blind spot, or of Australia's arid central re gions, differs sharply from the teeming popu lations of China, India, or Java. Striking, too, is the contrast between its dryness and the heavy rainfall of Cherra-Punji, India, sec ond wettest known place in the world (426 inches annually). Waialeale Mountain, in the Hawaiian Islands, is wettest (460 inches). For following dramatic developments, Na tional Geographic Society members will find this supplement a complement to other re cent Geographic maps (Atlantic, Pacific, Eu rope, etc.), which are now studded with col ored pins on the walls of military and naval strategists and trade experts. Thirty-three bases of seven navies-of the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, and the Netherlands-are indi cated by red anchors. Tiny black derricks mark the oil fields, sources of the vital fluid of battleship, airplane, and tank. Historical highlights, shown in blue type, carry the map back to 1500 B. c. A temple wall inscription at ancient Thebes describes an Egyptian voyage of that period to the land of Punt, probably on the Indian Ocean coast of Africa in the region of Mombasa. If you drove a stake straight down through the center of the earth from New York, Wash ington, or Kansas City, it would come out in the wide Indian Ocean. In surface miles, therefore, that tossing sea is more remote from the United States than any other ocean. Yet the map emphasizes that in trade and strategy this region is figuratively next door. From Netherlands Indies and British Malaya come major United States supplies of rubber, tin, and quinine. Oil derricks bristle in the Indies, in Java, Sumatra, Borneo. Enor mous quantities of their output go to Japan. Here the American flag flies far from home, waving over sequestered Guam and the popu lous Philippines. In this area lies a vital share of the world wide British dominion, notably Australia, neighboring New Zealand, much of South Africa, and that human anthill, India. Australia Completes Defense Highway Like China with its Burma Road, Australia has a new defense highway, built for wartime need. A 600-mile stretch connecting the rail heads of Alice Springs and Birdum, this North ern Territory road completes a rail-highway rail route that provides for the first time a modern north-south transportation system across Australia. Begun in September, 1940, with the promise of having the men home for Christmas, the project was completed in record time. It forms a lifeline to Darwin, a naval and Royal Australian Air Force base connected with Singapore's defense. Now Darwin could be supplied by land if control of Australia's coastal waters should be impaired. For the British Empire the broad expanses of the Indian Ocean form a defense highway. Over its lonely sea lanes pass transports laden with fighting men from Australia, New Zealand, or India; merchant vessels bearing materials and food for beleaguered Britain; and the watchful warships of Britannia's Navy. With the Mediterranean in the grip of war, Great Britain detours much traffic to the old * Additional copies of the Indian Ocean map may be obtained by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C. Prices, in United States and Possessions, 50¢ on paper (unfolded); 754 mounted on linen. Outside of U. S. and Possessions, 75¢ on paper; $1 on linen-all remittances to be payable in U. S . funds. Postage is prepaid.