Week 5: Halfway There

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Friday, July 6, 2018


Kristen Larson

How is it that we are already half way through the internship already? End of week 5?! I almost don’t believe it.

The main stand outs for this week were mainly the extra curriculars, namely going to explore NYC and experiencing the Fourth of July in our nation’s capital. For the fourth, I was on my way to meet up with the group on the steps of the capitol building to watch the fireworks, they took the metro but I figured that I would walk and I went through the first security gate I could, because I figured that meant I could walk through the mall without having to worry about security again, however they sectioned off the mall so once you were in one section you would have to leave that section and go through security again to get to another security station to enter a different area of the mall. By the time I realized this I saw the time and it was going to take me too long to get to the group before they totally shut down all the entrances when the fireworks start. So I decided to just find a spot on the Lincoln Memorial steps, and being just one person it was easy to weasel into a highly coveted spot on the steps. The fireworks were probably the best I had ever seen for a Independence Day celebration, but that may also be because of the location and how the monuments are highlighted with the glow of the explosions. It was a very picturesque experience.

The other fun portion of the week involved getting to bubble paint the backdrop for the exhibit. It consisted of three colors, so it took a while in between drying times and the 5 posters I filled up. But of course, I timed this project to take place during some of the most important World Cup games on Friday morning and afternoon so I could be painting/working while the games were on in the cafeteria. The green turned out to be more vibrant than I originally planned but I still think it works out okay, especially since the purple was subtler than I aimed for, so in the end I think it turned out balanced.

The rest of the week was filled with researching more about Marie Tharp as I really want to include a section about her in the exhibit, but I am having a hard time choosing a direct quote from her oral history transcripts. So far I have enjoyed reading from a chapter that she wrote for the book, “Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia Twelve Perspectives on the First Fifty Years 1949-1999.”

After another six weeks to arrange and piece together the profiles in proper order from west to east, I completed six more-or-less parallel, transoceanic profiles of the North Atlantic. I noticed immediately the general similarity in the shape of the ridge in each profile. But when I compared the profiles, I was struck by the fact that the only consistent match-up was a V-shaped indentation in the center of the profiles. The individual mountains didn’t match up, but the cleft did, especially in the three northernmost profiles. I thought it might be a rift valley that cut into the ridge at its crest and continued all along its axis.

When I showed what I found to Bruce, he groaned and said, “It cannot be.It looks too much like continental drift.” At the time, believing in the theory of continental drift was almost a form of scientific heresy. Almost everyone in the United States thought continental drift was impossible. Bruce initially dismissed my interpretation of the profiles as “girl talk.”

But I thought the rift valley was real and kept looking for it in all the data I could get. If there were such a thing as continental drift, it seemed logical that something like a mid-ocean rift valley might be involved. The valley would form where new material came up from deep inside the Earth, splitting the mid-ocean ridge in two and pushing the sides apart.

Her history is so rich and I can’t wait to highlight her in my exhibit but I just need a few more resources to make it complete. It seems like time is running out, but I think that I will have ample time to put everything together by the time the exhibit is debuted in two weeks!


Fireworks highlighting the Washington Monument
Getting my art project ready while the world cup plays in the background
Bubble Paintings almost done!
Me blowing paint bubbles

Kristen Larson