Geosystems Terms, Oceanography

question

El Nino
answer

An irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes affecting the equatorial Pacific region and beyond every few years, characterized by the appearance of unusually warm, nutrient-poor water off northern Peru and Ecuador, typically in late December.
question

Estuary
answer

Region where the sea and a river meet; usually protected area of brackish waterl essential to life in the ocean as these regions are used as spawning grounds.
question

Oceanography
answer

The scientific study of the sea.
question

Salinity
answer

Measure of disolved salts in water.
question

Sedimentation
answer

deposit: the phenomenon of sediment or gravel accumulating
question

Thermocline
answer

A transitional layer between the mixed layer of the surface and the deep water layer.
question

Abyssal Plain
answer

Flat seafloor area at a depth of 10,000-20,000 ft (3,000-6,000 m), generally adjacent to a continent
question

Continental Shelf
answer

the area of seabed around a large landmass where the sea is relatively shallow compared with the open ocean.
question

Continental Margin
answer

the offshore zone, consisting of the continental shelf, slope, and rise, that separates the dry-land portion of a continent from the deep ocean floor.
question

Continental Slope
answer

seaward border of the continental shelf. The world’s combined continental slope has a total length of approximately 300,000 km (200,000 miles) and descends at an average angle in excess of 4° from the shelf break at the edge of the continental shelf to the beginning of the ocean basins at depths of 100 to 3,200 metres (330 to 10,500 feet).
question

Continental Rise
answer

wide, gentle incline from an ocean bottom to a continental slope.
question

Ridge
answer

Any section of the narrow, largely continuous range of submarine mountains that extends into all the major oceans and at which new oceanic lithosphere is created by the rise of magma from the earth’s interior.
question

Seamount
answer

An undersea mountain.
question

Trench
answer

a long narrow steep-sided depression in the earth’s oceanic crust, usually lying above a subduction zone
question

Surface Current
answer

Horizontal motion of the upper 1000 meters of the sea; primatily driven by global wind patterns.
question

Thermohaline Current
answer

Motion of the sea driven by density (temperature and salinity); causes deep currents which connect the global conveyor belt.
question

Tidal Range
answer

The difference between high and low tide- varies by moon phase and bay shape, amongst other reasons.
question

Tides
answer

Periodic rise and fall of the ocean surface due to the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.
question

Upwelling
answer

Vertical movement of deep ocean water, cold and nutrient rich, toward the surface; due to either surface divergence or bathymetry, usually; creates regions of high productivity at the surface.
question

Glacier
answer

a slowly moving mass or river of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.
question

Ice Age
answer

A glacial period in which the entire earth freezes over.
question

Ice Cap
answer

A covering of ice over a large area for instance the polar regions of our planet.
question

Longshore Current
answer

Water movement parallel to the shoreline; the reason you end up a mile down-beach from your towel when you swim in the ocean.
question

Tsunami
answer

A moving wall of water caused by some sort of large scale under water disturbance such as underwater earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption, creating a full-column ripple effect in the ocean.
question

Waves (ocean)
answer

A long body of water curled into an arched form. In actuallity it is actually energy pushing the water up around and back down right where it was before.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member