4/14/2012. The Oceans. Ocean Floor Geologic Provinces. Continental Margin. Turbidity Currents. Major Ocean Basins:

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1 The Oceans Major Ocean Basins: Pacific Ocean largest and deepest Atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean S. Hemisphere Arctic smallest and most shallow Ocean Floor Geologic Provinces Continental Margin Continental Shelf Continental Slope Continental Rise Ocean Basin Floor Abyssal Plain Seamounts (previously discussed) Oceanic Islands (previously discussed) Deep Ocean Trenches (previously discussed) Mid-Ocean Ridges (previously discussed) Geologic Provinces of the Ocean Basins Continental Margin Turbidity Currents Ocean Basin Floor: Abyssal Plain, Seamounts, Oceanic Islands 1

2 Pacific Ocean Basin Seamount Chains Atoll Deep Ocean Trench Mid-Ocean Ridge Layered Structure of the Oceanic Crust & Upper Mantle Ophiolite Layered fragment of oceanic crust emplaced onto the edge of continental crust along a subduction zone Layer 1 = Sediment Terriginous sand, silt and clay eroded from continents Biogenous Shells and skeletons of microscopic marine animals and plants Hydrogenous minerals precipitated from seawater Pelagic Mixture of terriginous and biogenous Ophiolite Layer 2 = Pillow Basalt Forms when hot lava comes into contact with cold water Layer 3 = Sheeted Dikes Multiply intruded dikes through which magma flowed toward surface Layer 4 = Gabbro Forms when mafic magma crystallizes within magma chambers Layer 5 = Mantle Peridotite Ultramafic rocks which underwent partial melting to produce mafic magmas 2

3 Emplacement of Oceanic Crust onto Continental Lithosphere Sheeted Dike Complex - Oman Layered Gabbro Mantle Peridotite 3

4 Chemical Composition of Ocean Waters Salinity A measure of the amount of dissolved salt in ocean waters. Average salinity = 35 o / oo (parts per mil) Most Abundant Salts: NaCl, MgCl 2, Na 2 SO 4, CaCl 2, KCl Sources of salts: Weathering and erosion of rocks on land Submarine volcanic eruptions Chemical interactions between seawater and hot, newly formed ocean floor basalt Processes Which Affect Salinity Processes Which Decrease Salinity: Biological (formation of shells) Precipitation Runoff from land Melting of glaciers and sea ice Processes Which Increase Salinity: Evaporation Freezing of water into glaciers and sea ice Effects of Precipitation and Temperature on Salinity Tropical Climates Salinity is slightly lower than 35 o / oo due to relatively high amounts of rainfall Subtropical Climates Salinity is slightly higher than 35 o / oo due to relatively low amounts of rainfall Polar Climates Salinity is low due to low solubility of salts in cold water Ocean Water : Three-Layered Thermal Structure Shallow-Surface Zone Water is heated by solar energy. Extends to depths up to 300 m. Transition Zone Temperatures rapidly decrease with depth (thermocline). Extends to depths of approx. 1 km. Deep Zone Water temperatures are just above freezing. 4

5 Tides - Primarily caused by gravitational attraction of the Moon (and Sun) on the Ocean Basins Spring Tide Spring Tide Occurs when the Earth, Sun and Moon are aligned (full moon, new moon). Greatest difference between high tide and low tide. Neap Tide Occurs when the Moon is 90 o out of alignment with the Earth and Sun (first quarter moon, third quarter moon). Smallest difference between hight tide and low tide. Neap Tide Factors Which Affect Tidal Pattern: Shape of Coastline, Configuration of Ocean Basin, Water Depth Diurnal Tidal Pattern Single high tide and single low tide each 24 hour period (Gulf of Mexico) Semidiurnal Tidal Pattern Two high tides and two low tides each 24 hour period, with each high and low tide approximately the same height (U.S. Atlantic Coast) Mixed Tidal Pattern Two high tides and two low tides each 24 hour period, with each high and low tide of different heights (U.S. Pacific Coast) 5

6 Anatomy of a Wave in the Open Ocean Anatomy of a Breaking Wave Wave Refraction, Longshore Current, Beach Drift Shoreline Erosional Features: Wave-Cut Cliff Shoreline Erosional Features: Wave-Cut Platform Shoreline Erosional Features: Marine Terrace 6

7 Shoreline Erosional Features: Sea Arch Shoreline Erosional Features: Sea Stack Shoreline Depositional Features: Spit Shoreline Depositional Features: Sandbar Shoreline Depositional Features: Tombolo Shoreline Depositional Features: Barrier Island 7

8 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (1870) - Prior to Move Moving the lighthouse 1600 feet to its new home Hard Stabilization Construction of structures to protect a coastline from erosion Groin barrier built at right angles to the beach to trap sand transported by longshore current. Results in erosion of sand down current of the groin. Sea Wall Wall to protect beachfront structures by reflection of wave energy back toward the ocean. Results in rapid erosion of beach sand. Groin at base of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (former location) Sea Wall 8

9 Oceanic Circulation Global Circulation - Gyres Gyre an open ocean current Circular path Clockwise N. Hemisphere; Counterclockwise S. Hemisphere Driven by descending winds at ~ 30 o N and S Each consists of separate currents Five main gyres: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic Indian Coriolis Effect The deflection of currents to the right (N. Hem.) or left (S. Hem.) of their path of motion. Caused by the rotation of the solid Earth underneath a current attempting to move between two points on the Earth s surface Results in rotation of gyres in clockwise direction N. Hemisphere and counter clockwise direction S hemisphere Deep-Sea Currents Driving force is density of ocean waters Cold, polar waters sink and move toward equator Warm, equatorial waters rise and move toward poles Global conveyor belt effect 9

10 Coastal Upwelling Coastal zone where cold water is transported upward along the coast Usually occur where atmospheric circulation blows warm water away from the coastline, allowing cold waters to rise Important nutrient-rich fishing grounds Example: west coast of S. America Coastal Classification Emergent Coastline develops due to uplift of coast and/or drop in sea level Wave-cut cliffs, marine terraces, sea arches, sea stacks Example: coastal California Submergent Coastline develops as a results of a rise in sea level Submerged river valleys (estuaries, bays), headlands Example: Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, Delmarva Peninsula 10

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