Did you know? The woman who discovered a chain of mountainous volcanoes that runs through the ocean (that changed everything we know about the ocean, and the continents) was FROM YPSILANTI!!!

Marie Tharp, born in 1920 in Ypsilanti, was a cartographer and geologist who mapped the mid-Atlantic Ridge in the mid 1950s— and changed everything that we know about modern geology. Her 5,000 foot long maps documenting xx,xxx feet of  underwater mountain-volcanoes provided the base of our understanding of plate tectonics too.

Tharp’s maps were revolutionary— but in the mid 1950s, a time when female scientists were not taken seriously, her work was initially dismissed as “girl talk” by a scientific establishment that believed that the bottom of the ocean was flat and smooth like the bottom of a swimming pool.

“For five years, Tharp’s colleagues at Columbia University had been crisscrossing the Atlantic, recording its depths. Women weren’t allowed on these research trips—the lab director considered them bad luck at sea—so Tharp wasn’t on board. Instead, she stayed in the lab, meticulously checking and plotting the ships’ raw findings, a mass of data so large it was printed on a 5,000-foot scroll. As she charted the measurements by hand on sheets of white linen, the floor of the ocean slowly took shape before her.”
– Mental Floss, How One Woman’s Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology

By the end of her life in 2004, Tharp’s maps were on display at the Library of Congress next to Lewis and Clark’s.

When we first heard this story, FLY knew that it was a powerful tale that could inspire generations today’s kids in Ypsilanti and beyond. Her story is one of discovering one’s passion for learning, achieving excellence, and building the grit to sustain your work even when there are doubters.
How will we spread the word? FLY’s going to create hands on projects celebrating Marie Tharp, connecting mapmaking, volcanoes, sonar and the evolution of what we know about continents, and the ocean floor.
We’ll bring this program out into the community all summer as part of the FLY Sumer Roadshow— to public events, parks, and neighborhoods across town.

Help FLY win 10K to make this happen!

It’s easy to help us advance in a fundraising tournament toward a 10K prize that will help us build this amazing interactive experience about Marie Tharp.
Just vote for us in Brackets for Good. 1 point = 1 dollar. We’re in the bottom left of the bracket.
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