Ocean wave. Photo courtesy of watch4u/Flickr.
Abyssal Plains: smooth, flat, muddy plains on the sea floor
Beach: 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
Crest: 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
Estuaries: 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.
Period: 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