Ocean exploration


Ocean exploration is a part of oceanography describing the exploration of ocean surfaces. Notable explorations were undertaken by the Greeks, the Romans, the Polynesians, the Phoenicians, Phytheas, Herodotus, the Vikings, the Portuguese and Muslims. Scientific investigations began with early scientists such as James Cook, Charles Darwin, and Edmund Halley. Ocean exploration itself coincided with the developments in shipbuilding, diving, navigation, depth, measurement, exploration, and cartography.


Early exploration

  • 4500 BC Around this time, cultures like those in Greece and Rome began diving into the sea as a source of food gathering, commerce, and possibly even warfare.
  • 4000 BC Egyptians developed sailing vessels, which were probably used only in the eastern Mediterranean near the mouth of the Nile River.
  • 4000 BC - 1000 AD Polynesian colonization of South Pacific Islands.
  • 1800 BC Basic measuring of the depths is done in Egypt.
  • 1500 BC Middle Eastern peoples explored the Indian Ocean
  • 600 BC Phoenicians developed sea routes around the entire Mediterranean and into the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Going around Africa they reached England by sailing along the western European coast. Although they understood celestial navigation, they probably stayed within sight of land whenever possible.
  • 500-200 BC Greeks developed trade routes in the Mediterranean using the length of the day (corrected for the time of the year) to estimate latitude.
  • 450 BC Herodotus publishes a map of the Mediterranean region.
  • 325 BC Pytheas, a Greek astronomer and geographer, sailed north out of the Mediterranean, reaching England and possibly even Iceland and Norway. He also developed the use of sightings on the North Star to determine latitude.
  • c.240 BC Eratosthenes of Cyrene measures the circumference of Earth with a high precision.[1]
  • 150 AD Ptolemy produces a map of the Roman world, including lines of latitude and longitude, the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa and the surrounding oceans.
  • 900-1430 Vikings explore and colonize Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland.
  • 1002 Leif Erikson reaches North America 500 years before Columbus.[2]
  • 1405-1433 Chinese send seven voyages to extend Chinese influence and impress their neighbor states. These expensive voyages are ended after a short time. See Zheng He (1371–1433).

From Age of Exploration to present


  • The renaissance of ocean exploration occurred in the 20th century, when human-powered exploration became increasingly popular. Via this new medium, pioneering has once again become the goal of ocean explorers.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Russo, Lucio (2004). The Forgotten Revolution. Berlin: Springer. p. 273–277.
  2. ^ Sverdrup, Keith A.; Alyn C. Duxbury; Alison B. Duxbury (2005). An Introduction to the World's Oceans. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 4. ISBN 0-07-252807-9.
  3. ^ "Ocean Rowing Society International launches the first real adventure database". Guinness World Records. 2021-04-07. Retrieved 2021-08-12.


  • NOAA, Interactive Timeline of significant and interesting events throughout the 200-year history of NOAA and its predecessor organizations.
  • SeaSky.org - Ocean Exploration Timeline with Credits & Sources
  • NOAA - Sounding Pole to Sea Beam
  • History of Ocean Exploration
  • USC Earth Sciences, History of Oceanography
  • skb's virtual cave - Notable oceanographic expeditions

External links

  • Ocean Explorer - Public outreach site for explorations sponsored by the Office of Ocean Exploration.
  • NOAA, Ocean Explorer History
  • NOAA, Ocean Explorer Gallery - A rich collection of images, video, audio and podcast.
  • NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration
  • Deep-sea exploration