Meanwhile, Back on the Surface: Further Notes on the Sounding of Trenches

Fisher, RL.  2009.  Meanwhile, Back on the Surface: Further Notes on the Sounding of Trenches. Marine Technology Society Journal. 43:16-19.

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In the early 1950s there remained a number of still-young scientifically trained civilians, recently discharged from the U.S. Navy, who found the small but established (or gestating) U.S. oceanographic institutions to be exciting, fecund, and rewarding intellectually and career-wise. Broad sponsorship from the enlightened Office of Naval Research (ONR) provided use of converted small but fully seagoing vessels. Ad hoc teams applied or invented techniques with deck hardware, surplus World War II explosives, and laboratory electronic rigs to investigate the oceans in regions and environments key to the Navy’s potential missions but also to examine several crustal structures and tectonic processes fascinating to human curiosity, sometimes deemed “basic research.” One war-born example known to all is the observational explosion made possible by SCUBA; many of us did become saltwater dermatologists in those icy, pre-wetsuit days. For some, it was not enough.