National Geographic : 1952 Dec
New National Geographic Map of the Pacific, Where East and West Meet ARTH'S mightiest ocean, the Pacific, covering about a third of the surface of the globe, is a sea of mankind's destiny. Events taking place today on its waters, islands, and surrounding shores will affect profoundly the future of our world. Both the making of modern history from day to day in this vast area of the earth and the stirring dramas of its memorable past can be easily followed on the National Geographic Society's large 10-color map of the Pacific, distributed to its 2,000,000 member families as a supplement to this issue. Today the United States is building defenses and meeting important postwar responsibilities in the Pacific and Far East. The new map gives a timely picture of the geographical re lationship between the Eastern and Western Worlds. It covers an area from Peiping to Pocatello, from Australia to Alaska, and from Siberia to Cape Horn. Stars mark airports, including bases for ocean-spanning planes. The dashed lines of main ship routes, with distances in nautical miles, emphasize the words of Alexander Pope: "And seas but join the regions they divide." 60 Insets Show Important Islands Islands are the keys to the Pacific, and some 20,000 dot its waters. Many are only a few square miles or acres in area. In World War II they provided indispensable bases for the American offensive against Japan. In peace they serve as supply and refueling points for ships and planes. The more important islands and island groups appear on this new map in 60 insets around the border, in magnified detail, some on a scale 110 times that of the main map. Among them are such historic names as Wake Island, gallantly defended against the Japanese by U. S. Marines and civilians. More recently Wake was in the news when typhoon driven waters inundated its surface and de stroyed the commercial airways station there. Here too are Easter Island, site of mys terious statues carved by an unknown people; Pitcairn, home of the descendants of the mutiny on the Bounty; and Bikini and Eni wetok, site of secret atom-bomb tests. With these detailed island insets the map's single sheet, 37/2 by 29 inches, forms a vir tual atlas of the Pacific Ocean. A booklet form index to its 5,958 place names is obtain able separately.* The new map reveals with dramatic clarity the strategic importance of the Pacific islands and especially Hawaii to the defense of the two American continents. Today, American outposts extend to the Pacific's western borders, in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. Eight months ago the United States, Australia, and New Zealand ratified the ANZUS treaty of mutual defense. This map will help bring to life the headlines that originate in the Pacific area almost daily. Ships with troops and supplies for the Korean war cross the North Pacific in two weeks. Hospital planes fly the wounded home in only two days. Contrast this with Magel lan's starvation-haunted voyage of 98 days from Cape Horn to the Marianas in 1520-21.t Atomic Weapons Tested Here Remote Pacific isles play leading roles in today's Atomic Age. After 160 people had been moved from Bikini Atoll, the world's fourth atomic bomb was exploded over its 280-square-mile lagoon. Later, a fifth was exploded in the lagoon itself, the world's first underwater atomic blast. Today, on near-by Eniwetok, scientists and military men test atomic weapons at the United States Atomic Energy Commission proving grounds. Unauthorized visitors are excluded from an outer "danger area" of some 30,000 square miles. Britain's first atomic weapon was exploded in the Monte Bello Islands, 50 miles off west ern Australia, last October. Weather is a major concern in the Pacific, not only because ships and planes need ac curate reports but because much of North America's weather moves in from the North Pacific. Since this area has few islands to fur nish reports, the United States, Canada, and Japan now operate seven ship weather stations, each marked on the map by a small ship symbol. These vessels cruise endlessly within a circle less than two miles in radius, report ing weather conditions every three hours. The deepest water known to man was dis covered in 1951 in the western Pacific, be tween the islands of Guam and Yap. The British survey ship Challenger,using an echo sounding device to explore the Marianas Trench, suddenly "lost" the bottom. A 140 pound lead weight, fastened to 20 miles of * Members may obtain additional copies of the new Pacific Ocean map (and of all standard maps pub lished by The Society) by writing to the National Geographic Society, Washington 6, D. C. Prices in United States and elsewhere, 50 each on paper; $1 on fabric; Index, 250. All remittances payable in U. S. funds. Postpaid. t Many articles on the Pacific Ocean and its history are listed in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Cumulative Index, 1899-1951.