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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of October 9, 1998

This week, facts about... Fifty years ago this week, oceanographers on the Albatross III completed the first large-scale exploration of the ocean floor using modern sonar techniques and announced to the world that the bottom of the sea is covered with vast mountain ranges, rolling valleys, and immense plains.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Fifty years ago this week, oceanographers on the Albratross 3 made a big splash when their expedition ended in Sweden. They had just completed the first large-scale exploration of the ocean floor, using modern sonar techniques, and announced to the world that the bottom of the sea was covered with vast mountain ranges, rolling valleys, and immense plains, just like on dry land. Since then, scientists have found underwater volcanoes 3 miles down. At that depth it is completely dark and close to freezing. We still don't know much about life down there, except that most of the creatures discovered so far are less than 12 inches long, swim with their mouths permanently open, and have long, protruding limbs. And almost all of them possess specialized light-producing organs. These are good for recognizing mates and warding off predators. At that depth you don't want to be without your flashlight. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

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