Last Saturday, I joined the DC Chapter of the Explorer's Club for dinner and a lecture given by Marine Geoscientist, Norm Cherkis about the depths of our oceans. The event was held at the storied Cosmos Club, a place also known by DC natives as the club for "people with brains".
Having left my notebook at home, I used the backs of receipts in my wallet to take notes (and have since stowed away an extra pen and notebook in both car and purse, JUST IN CASE). Below are some cool facts that I walked away with:
- The oceans account for over 70% of the Earth's surface, but only 13% of the ocean floor has been mapped to some degree of detail. And less than 0.05% of the ocean floor has been mapped in a way that could be used to detect things like airplane wrecks and underwater volcano vents. This leaves roughly 57% of the entire Earth's surface unmapped and shrouded in the same mystery of every generation of our ancestors.
- For a person who loves maps, and locating places, the magnitude of the unknown came as surprising news, especially when you consider that the surface of our Moon has been mapped in more detail than Earth. Even more surprising is that the surfaces of places millions of miles away, such as Mars (34 million miles away); Venus (162 million miles); dwarf planet Ceres, not Cersei, (247 million miles); and the planet that never was, Pluto (4.67 billion miles away); have been all been mapped in greater detail than Earth. <<Insert thinking emoji face here.>>
- The good news is that the Nippon Foundation recently launched Seabed 2030 Project with the aim of mapping the entire ocean floor by 2030. To do this, they will recruit 100 ships to circumscribe the globe for (wait for it...) the next 13 years!
If you want to visit the Cosmos Club but are not a member, check out the bi-monthly lecture series of the Philosophical Society of Washington, the oldest scientific society in our nation's capital. The society is "committed to providing a forum to further scientific understanding and inquiry" and their lectures cover "all subjects of interest to intelligent men". You can check out the titles, transcripts, and videos of previous lectures in their online archive, and attend the lectures in person as they are free and open to the public.