Earth Science Vocabulary Unit 12 – Oceanography

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Contenental Margin
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the zone separating the continents from the deep ocean bottom, includes the shelf, slope, and rise
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mid-ocean ridge
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undersea mountain chain where new ocean floor is created; a constructive (divergent) plate boundary
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abyssal plain
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the relatively flat deep ocean floor
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wave
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circular movement of water particles; usually due to wind
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sea mount
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an underwater volcano
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tides
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the periodic rise and fall of water level caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun as well as forces of circular motion
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current
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a fluid (wind or water) moving in a particular direction
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neep tides
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low tide that occurs when the sun, Earth and the moon form a right angle; characterized by a lower than normal tidal range
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bathymetric map
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map that shows the depths and features of the ocean floor
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tsunami
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a long wave caused by sudden undersea movements due to earthquakes, volcanoes, or landslides
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coriolis effect
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change in direction of a moving object as a result of the earth’s rotation
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up welling
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the rising of deep water to the surface
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Continentil shelp
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a zone of shallow water fringing most continents
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salinity
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the number of grams of dissolved salt in one kilogram of seawater
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echo sound
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a process of measuring ocean depth using sound waves
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spring tide
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tides that occur when the sun, moon, and Earth align; characterized by a higher than normal tidal range
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continental slope
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the zone of steeply sloped sea floor leading from the continent shelf toward the ocean bottom
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trenches
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deepest feature in the ocean; forms at subduction zones
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guyot
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a flat-topped seamount that used to be an island
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estuary
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semi-isolated area of the ocean, which is diluted by freshwater drainage from the land

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