The Silent Landscape by Richard Corfield
Deep below the oceans' surface lies an alien world that even today we have only just begun to explore. The quest to understand the seabed began in 1872 when HMS Challenger set sail from Portsmouth on the first sea voyage devoted to science. Sailing for three and half years and almost 69,000 nautical miles, scientists and crew alike braved the stifling heat of the tropics for months on end only to suffer the stupefying cold of the Antarctic, enduring danger on the high seas, risking all in the pursuit of knowledge. The undertaking was nothing short of a roaring success. Challenger dredged up thousands of samples from the sea floor while mapping enormous areas of undersea terrain. Most startling of all was the revelation that the ocean was not a barren graveyard, but a gloriously complex ecosystem teeming with life.One of the expedition's most important objectives was to gather the evidence necessary to prove, or refute, Darwin's new theory of evolution. Drawing from official documentation and the journals of the ship's scientists and crew, The Silent Landscape recounts the story of this extraordinary voyage. But Richard Corfield also brings a twenty-first century perspective to bear on Challenger's research and discoveries, illuminating the science of that nineteenth century voyage with the most current oceanographic information available.