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49 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Plate Tectonics
Global dynamics having to do with the movement of a small number of semirigid sections of Earth's crust, with seismic activity and volcanism occuring primarily at the margins of these sections. This movement has resulted in changes in the geographic positions of continents and the shape and size of ocean basins.
The process by which one litospheric plate descends beneath another as they converge.
Transform Boundary
The boundary between two lithospheric plates formed by a transform fault.
A gradual sinking of land with respect to its previous level.
Continental Margin
Thr submerged area next to a continent comprising the continental shelf, continental slope, and continental rise.
Pacific Ring of Fire
An extensive zone of volcanic and seismic activity that coincides roughly with the borders of the Pacific Ocean.
Prime Meridian
(Greenwich Meridian)
The meridian of longitude 0 degrees used as a reference for measuring longitude that passes through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England.
Nautical Mile
A unit of distance used in marine navigation and marine forecasts. It is equal to 1.15 statue miles. It is also the approximate length of 1 minute of latitude.
An exceptionally precise timepiece.
The fraction of incident electromagnetic radiation reflected by a surface.
The Tropics
(Torrid Zone)
The region of the Earth's surface lying between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
Convection Cell
A circular-moving loop of matter involved in convective movement.
Coriolis Effect
An apparent force resulting from Earth's rotation causes particles in motion to be deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.
(Intertropical Convergence Zone)
Zone where northeast trade winds and southest trade winds converge. Averages about 5 degrees north latitude in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans a 7 degrees south latitude in the Indian Ocean.
Tropical Cyclone
Winds reach speeds in excess of 74 miles (120 kilometers) per hour in the Indian Ocean. Known as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean and hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean, eastern North Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.
Saffir-Simpson Scale
A scale of hurricane intensity that divides tropical cyclones into categories based on wind speed and damage.
Storm Surge
A rise above normal water level resulting from wind stress and reduced atmospheric pressure during storms. Consequences can be more severe if it occurs in association with high tide.
Greenhouse Effect
The heating of Earth's atmosphere that results from the absorption by components of the atmosphere such as water vapor and carbon dioxide of infared radiation from Earth's surface.
Coastal Upwelling
The movement of deeper nutrient-rich water into the surface water mass as a result of windblown surface water moving off-shore.
The overall circulation pattern of water. Starts in North Atlantic Ocean, bringing warm water to Europe and then circling back and bringing cold water down through South America. It then circles around Australia and loops into the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Ekman Transport
The net transport of surface water set in motion by wind. Due to the Ekman spiral phenomenon, it is theorectically in a direction 90 degrees to the right and 90 degrees to the left of the wind direction in the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, respectively.
(El Nino Southern Oscillation)
The correlation of El Nino events with an oscillatory pattern of pressure change in a persistent high-pressure cell in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and a persistent low-pressure cell over the East Indies.
Western Intensification
Pertaining to the intensification of warm western boundary currents of each subtropical gyre that are faster, narrower, and deeper than their corresponding eastern boundary currents.
Orbital Wave
A wave phenomenon in which energy is moved along the interface between fluids of different densities. The wave form is propagated by the movement of fluid particles in orbital paths.
A free ocean wave by which energy put into occean waves by wind in the sea is transported with little energy loss across great stretches of ocean to the margins of continents where the energy is released in the surf zone.
To become shallow.
Rogue Wave
An unusually large wave that usually occurs unexpectedly amid other waves of smaller size.
Wave Refraction
When waves approach the coastline at an angle and bend as some segments reach shallow water before others. Leads to erosion on headlands.
Seismic sea wave. A long-period gravity wave generated by a submarine earthquake or volcanic event. Not noticeable on the open ocean but builds up to great heights in shallow water.
Tide-generating forces
The magnitude of the centripetal force required to keep all particles of Earth having identical mass moving in identical circular paths required by the movements of the Earth-Moon system is identical. This required force is provided by the gravitational attraction between the particles and the Moon. This gravitational force is identical to the required centripetal force only at the center of Earth. FOFr ocean dies, the horizontal component of the small force that results from the difference between the required and provided forces is the tide-generating force on that individual particle. These forces are such that they tend to push the ocean water into bulges toward the tide-generating body on one side of Earth and away from the tide-generating body on the opposite side of Earth.
Tidal Range
The difference between high tide and low tide water levels over any designated time interval, usually one lunar day.
Barrier Island
A long, narrow, wave-built island separated from the mainland by a lagoon.
Beach Nourishment
(Beach Replenishment)
The addition of beach sediment to replace lost or missing material.
Depositional Shore
A shoreline dominated by processes that form deposits (such as sand bars and barrier islands) along the shore.
Erosional Shore
A shoreline dominated by processes that form erosional features (such as cliffs and sea stacks) along the shore.
Hard Stabilization
Any form of artifical structure built to protect a coast or to prevent the movement of sand along a beach. Examples include groins, breakwaters, and seawalls.
Longshore Drift
(Longshore Transport or Littoral Current)
The load of sediment transported along the beach from the breaker zone to the top of the swash line in association with the longshore current.
Rip Current
A strong narrow surface or near-surface current of short duration and high speed flowing seaward through the breaker zone at nearly right angles to the shore. It represents the return to the ocean of water that has been piled up on the shore by incoming waves.
A partially enclosed coastal body of water in which salty ocean water is significantly diluted by freshwater from land runoff. Examples include river mouths, bays, inlets, gulfs, and sounds.
Mangrove Swamp
A marshlike environment dominated by mangrove trees. They are restricted to latitudes below 30 degrees.
Salt Marsh
A relatively flat area of the shore where fine sediment is deposited and salt-tolerant grasses grow. One of the most biologically productive regions of Earth.
A biologically productive region bordering estuaries and other protected coastal areas; typically as salf marshes in latitudes greater than 30 degrees and as mangrove swamps in lower latitudes.
The enrichment of waters by a previously scarce nutrient.
Coral Bleaching
The loss of color in coral reef organisms that causes them to turn white. Coral bleaching is caused by the removal or expulsion of the coral's symbiotic zooxanthellae algae in response to high water temperatures or other adverse conditions.
Endozoic Algae
Grows in a symbiotic relationship with hermatypic corals. Limits the hermatypic's growth due to its own requirement for sunlight.
Symbiotic Relationships
A relationship between two species in which one or both benefit or neither or one is harmed. Examples are commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism.
Leads to the overgrowth of surface algae and slows reef growth. Caused by agriculture runoff and hotel sewage. Can lead to phase shift.
The symbiotic relationship changes and the algae now dominates the reef.
Erosion of reef or other solid bottom material by the activites of organisms.