Underwater explorer wins TED prize

“We’ve got to somehow stabilize our connection to nature so that in 50 years from now, 500 years, 5,000 years from now there will still be a wild system and respect for what it takes to sustain us.”

Sylvia Earle, called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and “Hero for the Planet” by Time, is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer with a deep commitment to research through personal exploration.

Earle’s work has been at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. Earle has led more than 50 expeditions worldwide involving more than 6,000 hours underwater. As captain of the first all-female team to live underwater, she and her fellow scientists received a ticker-tape parade and White House reception upon their return to the surface. In 1979, Sylvia Earle walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other woman before or since. ... At present she is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

Read more about Sylvia and the other TED Prize winners

Contemplating the depths of the ocean early on a Sunday morning:

Ocean Area (square miles) Average Depth (ft) Deepest depth (ft)
Pacific Ocean 64,186,000 15,215
Mariana Trench, 36,200

Atlantic Ocean 33,420,000 12,881
Puerto Rico Trench, 28,231

Indian Ocean 28,350,000 13,002
Java Trench, 25,344

Southern Ocean 7,848,300 13,100 - 16,400

Southern South Sandwich Trench, 23,736

Arctic Ocean 5,106,000 3,953
Eurasia Basin, 17,881 ft deep

Source for chart: Enchanted learning

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