THE OCEANS: Wild West Scramble for Control

Think of it: through the alchemy of imagination, the oceans disappear. Suddenly, the world would gain some 140 million sq. mi. of land, including mountains higher than Everest, volcanoes more powerful than Etna, chasms deeper than the Grand Canyon. By far the most pleasant scenery to man's eye—assuming anyone could survive in a world without water—would be the delicately terraced hills and snug valleys on the gently sloping continental shelves. The rest of the ocean floor would be mostly a vast wasteland of muddy ooze, as bleak in its way as the...

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