Sounding

Forensic Architecture

The depth of ocean floor is now measured through echo sounding—the transmission of sound pulses in the water. However in the mid-nineteenth century the term “sounding,” though prescient, was a misnomer, as it did not involve sound. Sounding was the name of the technique employed by research ships such as the HMS Challenger to measure the depth of the ocean floor by dropping a weighted line to the sea bottom. The line used to measure the distance from the ship to the ocean floor was made of rope, while piano wire was used when pulling up samples from the ocean floor, thus the association with acoustic phenomena.

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