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the branch of science dealing with physical and biological aspects of the oceans


measurement of ocean depths and the charting of the shape or topography of the ocean floor


sound navigation and ranging; electronic depth-sounding equipment


a small underwater craft used for deep-sea research

continental margin

zones between the coasts and the ocean floor basins; includes continental shelves, slopes and rises, as well as, submarine canyons

continental shelf

thick layers of undisturbed sediment near the coasts; wider in the Atlantic Ocean; more narrow in the Pacific Ocean due to volcanic activity

continental slope

the steep grade that leads to the deep-ocean floor; marks the end of the seaward edge of the continental shelf

submarine canyon

a valley in the continental shelf cut during lower sea level, or cut by turbidity currents

turbidity current

water full of sediment created when sand and mud slide off the continental shelf

continental rise

the gently sloping surface at the base of the continental shelf

ocean basin floor

area of deep-ocean floor between the continental margin and the oceanic ridge; includes abyssal plains and volcanic peaks

abyssal plain

very level area of the deep-ocean floor, usually lying near the foot of the continental rise


isolated volcanic peaks that rise at least 1000 meters above the deep ocean

mid-ocean ridge

a continuous elevated zone on the ocean floor, along divergent plains where plates are pulling apart

seafloor spreading

the action of plate tectonics producing new oceanic floor at ocean ridges

Where are continental margins widest? Why?

Atlantic Ocean; less earthquake or volcanic activity

terrigenous sediment

sediment made of mineral grains eroded from land

biogenous sediment

sediment made of shells and skeletons of marine life, including algae (calcareous ooze is a type of biogenous ooze)

calcareous ooze

thick sediment caused by dissolving calcium carbonate shells; not found in the deeper ocean because shells dissolve at 4500 meters

siliceous ooze

a type of biogenous sediment; made of shells of diatoms (algae) and radiolarians (single-celled animals)

hydrogenous sediment

minerals that crystallize from ocean water (a small portion of overall ocean sediment)

gas hydrates

made of water and natural gas; found in permafrost and under the deep ocean floor

manganese nodule

hard lumps of manganese (and some other chemicals) found on the ocean floor

How much of the Earth is covered by global oceans?


Name the four main ocean basins.

Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans

How are sediments deposited on abyssal plains?

turbidity currents carry sediments on the ocean floor

Which ocean has the greatest average depth?

Pacific Ocean


submersible used for deep-ocean research


used to measure differences in ocean-surface heights

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