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Plumbing the depths.

Latte Bar, misc. For the Fun of It.

Something has baffled me for a very long time.
The original method of sounding ocean depths is tossing a weight attached to a long rope overboard.  
Let it out by hand till it settled on the bottom, then to haul up the rope counting the knots as someone is recording it.

Fine, makes all the sense in the world.  

But then I think of the Challenger going around the world plumbing depths that added up to miles.
"The Marianna trench was first sounded in 1875, which recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms (8.184 km; 26,850 ft)."

How much are boat drift and currents tugging on that rope?
How do you really know when you hit bottom?  How do you really know when the slack is taught?
How in creation does a man, or team, haul up kilometers worth of rode
(a kilometer of rope the size of your pinky weighs ~800kilo if I got my facts and math straight)
How thick was the rope they used back then?
What's the size of an 8km long coil of rope?
How did they pull it off???


er, pun not intended   
B) 



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