Two Views of the Ocean

A significant part of my thesis research deals with scale. “Scale” is a very vague word, but in ecology, it connotes some very profound truths and problems about the natural world and our understanding of it. I hope to write about the topic of scale in ecology in greater depth some time, but for now, I present two pictures I’ve seen online in the past couple of days. The first shows the oceanic water column from top to bottom:

The Pacific Ocean, from top to bottom over the Marianas Trench. Click to see full water column.

The Pacific Ocean, from top to bottom over the Marianas Trench. Click to see full water column.

And the second shows the Atlantic Ocean basin from west to east:

The Atlantic Ocean, from North America to Europe, drawn to scale.  Click for full-size image

The Atlantic Ocean, from North America to Europe, drawn to scale. Click for full-size image

It’s kind of humbling to look at one and then the other. The first awes you with the immense depth of the ocean at its deepest point, and the second with the relative thinness of the ocean on the surface of the planet. That thin wet film on our ball of rock has so much going on in it: Currents, ecosystems, the lives and deaths as large as whales and as small as photosynthetic archaea. That’s deep, man…but also shallow. You dig?

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3 Responses to Two Views of the Ocean

  1. alyssa says:

    this is my very favorite kind of thing. more!

  2. gabe says:

    Agreed. This is really premium-grade research-blogging. Way better than my approach, which involves firing off non sequiturs about the New Deal into the Twittersphere.

  3. Pingback: Oceans Deep | Oceanographer's Choice

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