Published prior to her renowned bestseller, Silent Spring, this book also clearly shows Rachel Carson’s interest and concern for earth’s natural environments.
The Sea Around Us is based upon events taking place billions of years ago. Carson writes of the earth’s geological record and the formation of the oceans. Her timeline continues with the appearance of simple organisms, evolving into more complex lifeforms. Topography of the ocean depths is described.
Mountains rose and fell, eroded by pounding rain and powerful snow and ice. Animal development began. Carson refers to our lime-hardened skeletons as reminders of humankind’s oceanic origin. Another physiologic remnant is the compositional similarity of blood to seawater.
Our views of seawater change as we see the brick red created by billions of microscopic organisms or the glow from these same creatures’ phosphorescence after dark. Carson’s text is extremely expressive as she tells of small fierce oceanic dragons.
The author tells of color being an important indicator of zone change. There are blue depths and green coastal zones. Within the green zones, there can be quite a range of shades. She refers to Darwin’s noting his crossing from tropical to cool waters.
Ocean temperatures and water salinity provide statistics substantiating Carson’s belief in the variance of this environment. Collisions of varying currents create areas of rising or falling water.
Rachel Carson enables the reader to realize that the sea is a living, thriving entity. One example of this is the migration of plants from the West Indian islands to a much northern section of the Sargasso Sea. Not only plants, but animals and their annual changes are detailed in the book.
Fortunately, modern scientists have access to underwater cameras and sonar, permitting an amazing exploration of ocean depths. Carson names specific explorers and their discoveries.
This extensive examination of watery environments includes text on the creation of volcanic islands, Dover’s white cliffs and Niagara Falls, and the occurrence of oil, one of the legacies of the ancient seas.
A seemingly complete study of earth’s oceans, The Sea Around Us presents a remarkably accessible record to non-scientists.