Stories written by James A Michel

Into the Abyss: The Scramble for the Ocean Floor

Beneath the vast expanse of the ocean surface lies another world. At first, around the shores, the continental shelf is little more than an extension of the adjoining landmass. But then one reaches the edge of the abyss and, with the sudden drop that follows, everything changes. Remarkably, in view of what is known about the rest of the planet, and even outer space, most of the ocean floor remains largely a mystery. The scientific consensus is that only 5% of the deep sea has been explored in any detail. When a passenger jet was lost somewhere in the Indian Ocean in 2014, rescuers floundered without definitive maps of the maritime space and its currents at different depths that might have helped in their search.

Who Wants to Live by the Sea?

For most of history, only those who made their living from the sea chose to live on the coast. Fear of being battered by storms, not to mention vulnerability to attacks from foreign navies, kept most people inland. Gradually that changed and, along with fisherfolk and their families, the idea of a coastal location became something of a cult. High property prices still reflect its popularity. But is it any longer so desirable?

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