Technology Is Transforming the Relationship Between People and the Oceans

Technology is transforming the relationship between people and the oceans

Sonar research has been mostly military ever since, as have various other forms of high-tech ocean sensing. But the new sensorium allowed an exploration of the ocean’s depths that became crucial to science and commerce. Sea-floor surveys undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s discovered a chain of underwater mountains snaking through the oceans like the seam on a baseball.

This discovery helped transform the controversial notion of continental drift into the far more powerful and explanatory theory of plate tectonics. Modern industrial fishing and offshore oil and gas benefited in similar ways: seeing the seas and their contents mattered.