National Geographic : 1962 Apr
EEKING a rumored southern continent, great navigators of the past sailed the Pacific. Men like Magellan, Cook, Bou gainville, and Bligh risked their lives in quest of mysteries beyond this endless horizon. They charted islands and atolls, studied reefs and currents, measured latitude and longitude. And though the new continent remained a myth until discovery of Antarctica far to the south, there meanwhile emerged a portrait of this mightiest of oceans. Today scientists, oceanographers, and geol ogists still explore, still probe and measure. The information they gather, painstakingly compiled, produces a new map - a sheet such as Cook might have dreamed of. This latest Atlas Map supplement, Pacific Ocean, dis tributed to members with this issue, is the 460 most detailed and up-to-date portrait of the ocean's land features and its floor that the Society has ever published.* The new map- a study in vastness- charts a third of the earth's surface, an ocean so huge that all the continents could fit easily in its 63,800,000 square miles. New View of an Old Realm It is a portrait of change. Where Magel lan's gallant squadron on its circumnaviga tion of the globe took more than a year to traverse the Pacific, modern jets whisk pas sengers almost overnight from the United States to Sydney, Manila, or Hong Kong. Islands once synonymous with remote para dise-Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga-now lie only hours by air from mainland cities.