properties, or processes. The next step involves mentally manipulating those shapes, structures, orientations or positions—for example, by rotation, translation, deformation, or partial removal. The third step involves making interpretations about what caused the objects, properties, or processes to have those particular shapes, structures, orientations, and/or positions. With this understanding in mind, it is possible to make predictions about the consequences or implications of the observed shapes, internal structures, orientations, and/or positions. Finally, geoscientists can use spatial thinking processes as a short-cut, metaphor, or mental crutch to think about processes or properties that are distributed across some dimension other than physical space.
Marie Tharp (1920–) is a marine cartographer who made some of the first maps of the seafloor between the 1950s and the 1970s (Figure 3.28). With kilometers of water obscuring her direct vision, she was able to visualize and depict the shapes of terrain that no human eye had ever seen.