SIO Archive Film Collection, 1940-1983 (SMC 42)


Extent: 6 Linear feet (3 cartons, one archive box, and 4 flat boxes), + 2 GB of digital content

View OnlineSelected films from the collection have been digitized.

A collection of films, donated over many years and from different sources, to the Archives of the former Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library. Film content covers research, expeditions, overviews of campus, and training films by the U.S. Navy.

This collection of films is comprised of over a dozen separate film accessions donated to the former SIO Archives at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library between 1981 and 2007. As a group, these films were informally referred to as the "SIO Film Collections." When the SIO Archives were transferred to stewardship of the UC San Diego Library's Special Collections & Archives Program, a full survey of all audiovisual materials was completed, and films from various uncatalogued accessions were consolidated and reorganized into one cohesive list in 2021.

This collection contains films documenting and introducing Scripps Institution of Oceanography research, expeditions, and campus history. The collection also includes training and introductory science films created by the U.S. Navy, often with the participation of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Of special note are the expedition films, including amateur footage from the MidPac and Monsoon Expeditions.

Materials are arranged chronologically within series and are grouped together by content in three series: 1) EXPEDITIONS, 2) U.S. NAVY FILMS, 3) MISCELLANEOUS.

Container List


MidPac Expedition - Compilation of 41 min. of footage aboard R/V Horizon, Roger Revelle and other scientists on deck, deployment and recovery of scientific instruments, etc., 1950

Box 5 Folder 1
Box 4 Folder 4
MidPac Betacam SP version (color, silent)
Box 2 Folder 6

Film by geophysicist John C. Harrison. Includes images of R/V Argo in Honolulu, scientists and instruments (gravity corer, Edgerton bottom camera, piston corer, and early model LaCoste and Romberg marine gravity meter), Howland Island and Nanumea Island, a seismic shot, a heat flow apparatus being lowered and recovered, and the Over the Line ceremony. Featured scientists include: John Christopher Harrison, Richard Von Herzen, Alan Jones, Russell Raitt, George G. Shor, and others.

Digital file 2
Footage including Monsoon Expedition - Digital video (color, silent), 1960

Content note: Ocean Beach, San Diego; Driving on Old Highway 80 in San Diego County; Onboard Argo, the Monsoon Expedition ship, in downtown San Diego, with Gus Giobbi turning towards camera after ship's mast is filmed, and appearing later; In port at a pier in Broome, Australia with steep gangplank due to tide; George and Betty Shor in front of white laundry vehicle; offshore Krakatoa Island, Indonesia; tender ship Malita (Townsville Australia) hired for seismic work; Dick Von Herzen's heat flow probe; piston corer; Crossing the Line (Equator) ceremony; tender boat which set off explosives for seismic work has a tethered balloon so that the main ship could spot it far away if it got lost; at Mauritius; Dick Von Herzen's heat flow probe; sonar pinger brought on deck; driving in Australia; equipment from inside Dick Von Herzen's heat flow probe is pulled out, with Gus Giobbi in red hair and goatee; sonar pinger being deployed; Nansen bottle being deployed; shark fish with Dick Von Herzen waving; ship's cook smoking a cigarette in a hammock in front of stacked dynamite; Hobart, Tasmania with Larry Davis being put in an ambulance and taken away for medical care; dolphins; Australia. Created by Gus Giobbi.

Box 5 Folder 2

Produced by the National Science Foundation (NSF), introducing the expedition, defining its goals, and demonstrating how oceanographic data is collected.

Box 5 Folder 3

Produced by Alpha Helix Management Office and National Science Foundation (NSF), with credits to Stuart Jewell Productions.

Argo: Research vessel at Sea - Leg of Expedition Zetes on R/V Argo, 1966

Box 6 Folder 1
Argo - 16mm film
Box 4 Folder 2
Argo - DVD version
Box 4 Folder 5
Argo - Notes and time log by Lawson
Digital file 1

Investigation aboard R/V Agassiz to assess whether or not ancient submerged islands once formed stepping stones to the Hawaiian Archipelago. Participants included Richard Rosenblatt, Harry Ladd, Ned Allison, John Allen, William Newman, Ron McConnaughey, and Tom Cukr.

Box 2 Folder 1

Investigation assessing the impact of Acanthaster planci starfish on Eastern Pacific coral reefs, and its likely impact should it get into the Caribbean. Poor to fair quality. Footage includes: Spencer Luke and another man in a small boat with a fish trap; departure from Panama City and return; rocky wave-bound shores and booby birds on the Pacific side; low islands and coral reefs of San Blas Island on the Caribbean side. Participants included Joseph Curry, William Newman, Tom Dana, Perry Crampton, and Spencer Luke.

Box 2 Folder 2
Horizon Guyot, 7-Tow (Tow Mid-Pacific) - 8mm film (color, silent), 1970

Use of a Deep Tow side-scanning sonar to survey ancient reefs, largely outcrops of Eocene chert. Participants included: Bill Normark, Peter Lonsdale, and Bill Newman.

Box 2 Folder 3
Trans-equatorial Expedition (South Tow) - 8mm film (color, silent), 1971

Expedition work compared abyssal plain faunas from under sterile and fertile equatorial surface waters. Participants included: Robert Hessler, Eric Mills, Duane Hope, and William Newman.

Box 2 Folder 4
Albatross, 7-Tow - 8mm film (color, silent), 1972 January-February


Box 3 Folder 4

Bureau of Aeronautics training film. Soundtrack damaged.

Box 6 Folder 3

Bureau of Aeronautics training film.

Box 3 Folder 3

Technical film by Bureau of Ships (BUSHIPS)/Navy Electronics Laboratory, regarding organic ocean slicks and associated ocean temperature.

Box 3 Folder 2

Produced by the US Naval Photographic Center. Training film about the Navy's involvement in oceanography from the 1840s onward, including the history of the Naval Oceanographic Office. Historical scenes were filmed aboard the last American whaling ship, Charles W. Morgan, in Mystic, Connecticut.

Box 6 Folder 2

Produced by US Navy Inter-Agency Committee on Oceanography.

Box 7 Folder 1

US Navy photographic Center on AWS and NOMAD programs for predicting ocean conditions. The film includes: Sealab I, Trieste, Alvin, footage of missiles being launched from ships at sea, and the battery charging system on NOMAD.

Box 3 Folder 1

Technical film by BUSHIPS about submersible dives, including the bathyscaphe Trieste. Produced by Navy Electronics Laboratory.

Box 7 Folder 2
Careers in Oceanography - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1965

Bureau of Naval Weapons film, MN 10145. Film used to recruit oceanographers and demonstrate various career paths. Features UC San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus.

Box 7 Folder 3
Oceanic Research with Cousteau Diving Saucer - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1965-1966

BUSHIPS/Navy Electronics Laboratory technical film.

Box 2 Folder 10

Launch of an AGOR 14 (Auxiliary General Oceanography Research) oceanographic research vessel named MELVILLE at Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan on July 10, 1968. The vessel was built by the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The film includes: shipyard scenes, images of three vessels (including R/V MELVILLE and a U.S. Navy Ship S.P. Lee), crowd at the launching, and workers using a crane to launch the vessel. Produced by J. Walczak.

Box 3 Folder 5

Navy Air Systems Command film, MN-10841. Film features four oceanographers living and working on the ocean bottom during the long continuous underseas experiment.

Box 8 Folder 1

Produced by Naval Air Systems Command.

Box 8 Folder 3

Produced by Navy Air Systems Command (MN 11492). Significant red-shifting, poor sound quality at beginning of film.

Box 8 Folder 2
Shark, Danger in the Sea - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1979

On naval shark research programs.

Digital file 1
Operation Crossroads: Baker and Able Day Tests, Bikini Atoll (digital video), 1946

Digital surrogate of an original film. Color, sound, approx 25 min 30 sec.


Box 1 Folder 1
Kenneth O. Emery testing coring device - 16mm film (b&w, silent), 1940 April 1

Emery testing a coring device off the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier in La Jolla, California.

Box 4 Folder 1

First half in color; second half in black/white. Includes aerial shots. The Library does not own the original footage.

Box 2 Folder 9
Deep Sea Drilling Project short segment - 16mm film, ca. 1965
Box 1 Folder 4
H-L Building time lapse - Five 16mm films, ca. 1965

Science and the Sea, ca. 1965-1976

Box 1 Folder 7

Film by the University of Arizona Radio and TV Bureau, with credits noting Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Written by Harry Zeitlin, with cinematography by Mike Bell and Paul Glenn, and narrated by Chuck Lee. Features SIO, including: pan of campus from Mt. Soledad, view of campus buildings, brief interviews with scientists (Edward Goldberg, Andrew Benson, Robert Garrels, Tsaihwa Chow, and Hans Suess), and oceanographic vessels (R/V Melville and the platform FLIP).

Box 4 Folder 3
Science and the Sea - Betacam SP
Box 1 Folder 2-3
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, La Jolla, Production #1 - 16mm films, 1966

Produced by Frank Snodgrass, the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, and BBC. Labeled "IGPP Prod. #1; Prod: Frank Snodgrass; Co: UCSD and BBC; 75-66393, UCSD (IGPP) 1021EC17-1021EC18."

Box 1 Folder 5
Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, La Jolla, trim and outtakes - 16mm film, 1966

Labeled "Trim & Out take - Prod. #1 SWT-Dropwise." Core damaged.

Box 1 Folder 6
Wide World of Ocean Data Network: A Proposal - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1967

Includes: charts and graphs on ocean currents, salinity and temperature profiles of ocean water, footage of world's largest desalination plant, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and Florida Keys Aqueduct Company.

Box 2 Folder 8
The Poisoned Sea - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1971

By Moonlight Productions, Mountain View, California. Film about sewage off Palos Verdes Peninsula, California. Includes Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists serving as consultants and discussing pollution problems.

Box 2 Folder 7

Film produced by National Science Foundation (NSF). Participating institutions included: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Aberdeen Marine Laboratory of the Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department, Marine Science Directorate of the Department of the Environment in Canada, and the University of British Columbia.

Box 3 Folder 6
Scripps Institution of Oceanography overview - 16mm film (color, with sound), 1983

General overview of SIO, including images of ships, laboratories, and facilities. Produced by William Livingston Productions, and shown at the Aquarium to school groups.

Box 2 Folder 5

Produced by the Lockheed Missile and Space Company, Inc. Significant red-shifting.

Box 2 Folder 11

Footage by marine geologist Philip H. Kuenen demonstrating how underwater currents can move suspended sediment loads down slope, scouring underwater canyons, moving rocks and creating graded sediment layers.