Unveiling Earth’s Hidden Depths: LIFE Magazine’s Revolutionary Look at the Vast and Mysterious Terrain Beneath our Oceans.

LIFE. The New Portrait of Our Planet.


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SKU: NL-01922 Categories: , Tag:
Cartographer(s): Life Magazine
Date: 1960
Place: New York
Dimensions: 129 x 95 cm (50.5 x 37.5 in)
Condition Rating: VG


This is a composite portrait of Earth, featuring two large hemispherical images centered on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These images are rich in detail, showing the contours of continents, mountain ranges, and ocean depths with a mix of colors that likely represent different elevations and depths. The image also includes smaller circular insets of the Arctic and Antarctic, providing a view of the Earth’s extremities.

The map blends topographical and bathymetric data. The overall design is classic of mid-20th century educational posters, which aimed to provide a comprehensive view of the planet in a visually engaging way. The maps emphasize topographical extremes by exaggerating elevations 40 times their actual height, and color-coding represents different materials on the ocean floor.

The text below the hemispheres describes the groundbreaking exploration of the Earth’s ocean floors during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, revealing undersea landscapes more extraordinary than any continental features. LIFE Magazine created maps to illustrate what these oceanic terrains would look like if the waters were absent, highlighting the Pacific’s vast and rough floor, marked by deep trenches and mountain chains, including the Mariana Trench and Hawaii’s peaks. The Atlantic is defined by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and abyssal plains, while the Arctic and Antarctic regions feature unique underwater formations and large areas previously uncharted.

It’s a piece that serves both an educational purpose and an aesthetic one, as it is visually striking and detailed.


Life Magazine

LIFE Magazine, established in 1883 and re-launched as a weekly news magazine in 1936 by Henry Luce, became one of the most iconic publications in American history, renowned for its vivid photojournalism and the chronicling of national and global events. Its compelling visual narratives and in-depth features captured the essence of cultural, political, and social life, often with a single, powerful image, such as the celebrated ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Condition Description

Folding map with wear along folds.