Oceanography - The sea is the most obvious feature of the...

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The sea is the most obvious feature of the earth's surface. Approximately seventy percent of this surface is covered by water, in one way or another. Beneath this water are the familiar sands of the beaches, bottoms of bays, and the inshore ocean. Farther offshore this water covers an amazing submarine topography of underwater canyons, trenches, mountains, and plains. Unlike the continents, which are physically separated from one another, the oceans are continuous and interconnected. Since the "world ocean is continuous"(M.J. Keen) it has similar characteristics throughout. In the early 1870s oceanographers collected seawater samples from all of the seas of the world at a variety of depths. When analyzed, the samples were found to have quite similar characteristics. These findings convinced many that a method of study was needed. The study of oceans was named oceanography. Density, salinity, and temperature are very important concepts in the study of oceanography. The salinity and temperature of the water influence its density, and the differences in density are the major factor in understanding the formation of currents and the positions of water masses in the sea. In addition, temperature and salinity play major roles in influencing the distribution of plants and animals. The sediments of the sea floor may be divided into lithogenous, hydrogenous, biogenous, and cosmogenous sediments. Lithogenous sediments are the major sediments on the ocean floor. They are derived from the chemical and mechanical weathering of rocks. Biogenous sediments are composed primarily of the protective outter covering of small marine animals and plants. If these remains comprise at least thirty percent of the sediment it is called an "ooze". "Oozes" were named for the types of organisms that formed them. Hydrogenous sediments form as a result of the chemical reactions that occur in the seawater. These reactions result in the formation of small particles, which are deposited on the sea floor. Currents move these particles and cause them to collide with the other particles. If many of these collisions occur they may form nodules. Nodules are found on some portions of the deep-sea floor. The sediment type frequently determines the type of organisms that will be found in that specific area. "Waves are variable and transitory features of the sea's surface." (Sandra Smith) All waves, from the smallest ripple to the most destructive tsunami, have common characteristics. They all have crests, troughs, wave heights, lengths, and periods. Also, water particles that make up the waves all move in identical orbital patterns. The orbital pattern is up and forward in the crest and down and back in the trough. It is only when the wave becomes unstable that the orbital motion is destroyed. The water particles then begin to move at the same speed as the moving wave form. Breaking waves release a tremendous amount of stored energy on a beach face.
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This note was uploaded on 11/19/2009 for the course ENG 102 taught by Professor Wilis during the Fall '08 term at Academy of Art University.

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Oceanography - The sea is the most obvious feature of the...

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