The sea covers seven-tenths of the Earth, but we have mapped only a small percentage of it. The sea contains millions of species of animals and plants, but we have identified only a few thousand of them. The sea controls our planet's climate, but we do not really understand how. The sea is still the frontier, and yet it seems so familiar that we sometimes forget how little we know about it.
Just as we are poised on the verge of exploiting the sea on an unprecedented scale -- mining it, fertilizing it, fishing it out -- this book reminds us of how much we have yet to learn. More than that, it chronicles the knowledge explosion that has transformed our view of the sea in just the past few decades, and made it a far more interesting and accessible place. From the Big Bang to that far-off future time, two billion years from now, when our planet will be a waterless rock; from the lush crowds of life at seafloor hot springs to the invisible, jewel-like plants that float at the sea surface; from the restless shifting of the tectonic plates to the majestic sweep of the ocean currents, Kunzig's clear and lyrical prose transports us to the ends of the Earth.
The ocean - particularly the deep ocean - is the last frontier on Earth. In the past decade, research has accelerated into the geological, biological, physical and chemical sides to oceanography, and there is much new work to report on. American science writer Kunzig presents a nicely detailed exploration of this research, writing from the scientists' point of view, with great insight into the nature of science as well as the implications of the discoveries that are being made. Every book on the deep ocean over the past few years and for the forseeable future will have a short shelf life as this new frontier is explored and explained. And the ocean itself is ever changing and challenging our understanding. Yet this sharply written journalistic account, with its insights into the workings of science and scientists, should be an enduring contribution. (Kirkus UK)