Lesson Vocabulary

Ocean wave. Photo courtesy of watch4u/Flickr.

Abyssal Plains: smooth, flat, muddy plains on the sea floor

the area in which sediment is deposited along the shore

Continental Rise:
extends beyond the steep continental slope. It is more gently sloping and is composed of the sediments deposited by turbidity currents at the base of the continental slope

Continental Shelf:
extends seaward from the shore and is the shallowest part of the continental margin

Continental Slope:
area of the seafloor just beyond the continental shelf, where the slope of the seafloor becomes steeper

highest point of a wave

Deep Sea Trenches: the deepest areas in the ocean

El Niño: climate phenomenon that influences sea surface temperatures and ocean currents

places where large rivers empty into the ocean

Fetch: distance the wind travels over the ocean surface

Gyres: circular pattern of ocean surface currents

Ions: charged atoms

Longshore Currents: one way sand is deposited on a beach. They are caused by waves striking the beach at an angle

Neap Tide: when the difference between high tide and low tide is the least. The lowest level of high tide.

the amount of time that passes between one wave to the next

Polar Easterlies:
winds that are closest to the poles and blow from east to west, pushing surface currents westward

Prevailing Westerlies: winds found at mid-latitudes and move from west to east, creating surface currents that also move in that direction

Rip Currents: formed in low areas or breaks in sandbars. They move perpendicularly away from the shore & towards the ocean

Salinity: a measure of the concentration of dissolved salts in a body of water. It is measured as a concentration of grams of salt per kilogram of seawater

Sonar: stands for sound navigation and ranging, works by emitting pulses of sound waves from a ship, which bounce off any objects they hit and return to their source. Allows scientists to map the sea floor

Spring Tide: when the difference between high tide and low tide is the greatest. An unusually high tide. Occurs during full and new moons.

Thermocline: boundary between surface water and deep water in the ocean; layer in the ocean where temperature changes very rapidly with depth.

Thermohaline Circulation: network of surface and deep ocean currents that constantly circulates ocean water from one side of the globe to another. Caused by salinity and temperature differences

Trade Winds: winds closest to the equator, blow from east to west; they drive the ocean surface currents from the east to west as well

Trough: lowest point of a wave

Turbidity Currents: fast moving currents of water, mud and sediment

Wave: a disturbance that travels through space and transports energy

Wave Height: distance between the wave's trough and crest

Wavelength: the distance between two consecutive wave crests
Last modified: Tuesday, 1 February 2011, 5:14 PM