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Oceans & Seas


Neptune's Web

Our Restless Tides

Photography by Barbara Lindsay

Ocean Color

Ocean Color

Why is the Ocean Salty?

Ocean Questions

Oceans & Laws
of the Sea

 

The oceans and seas cover about 70% of our planet....just what is salt water,  why do we have tides.......so we can sing songs about them.......
Tides are the rising and falling of ocean's water. Tides are caused from the gravitational attractions between the Earth, sun, and moon. Both the moon and sun have gravity, but because the moon is closer to Earth its gravity has a greater effect on the water (which is moveable) on whatever side of the Earth the moon is on. When the Earth, moon, and sun are positioned in a straight line the gravitational pull on the Earth is greater. But when the moon and the sun are at right angles to the Earth their gravitational pull is decreased. This gravitational pull on the water is what creates the tides

The oceans are salty because it washes down from the rocks on land.  The rain that falls on the land contains some dissolved carbon dioxide from the surrounding air. This causes the rainwater to be slightly acidic due to carbonic acid (which forms from carbon dioxide and water). The rain erodes the rock and the acid breaks down the rocks and carries it along in a dissolved state as ions. The ions in the runoff are carried to the streams and rivers to the ocean. Many of the dissolved ions are used by organisms in the ocean and are removed from the water. Others are not used up and are left for long periods of time where their concentrations increase over time. The two ions that are present most often in seawater are are chloride and sodium. These two make up over 90% of all dissolved ions in seawater. By the way, the concentration of salt in seawater (salinity) is about 35 parts per thousand. In other words, about 35 of 1,000 (3.5%) of the weight of seawater comes from the dissolved salts.
Information courtesy the of Argonne National Laboratory

Water bodies are described by a plethora of different names in English - rivers, streams, ponds, bays, gulfs, and seas to name a few Many of these terms' definitions overlap and thus become confusing when one attempts to pigeon-hole a type of water body. 

First, the different forms of flowing water. The smallest water channels are often called brooks but creeks are often larger than brooks but may either be permanent or intermittent. Creeks are also sometimes known as streams but the word stream is quite a generic term for any body of flowing water. Steams can be intermittent or permanent and can be on the surface of the earth, underground, or even within an ocean (such as the Gulf Stream).

A river is a large stream that flows over land. It is often a perennial water body and usually flows in a specific channel, with a considerable volume of water. The world's shortest river, the D River, in Oregon, is only 120 feet long and connects Devil's Lake directly to the Pacific Ocean.

A pond is a small lake, most often in a natural depression. Like a stream, the word lake is quite a generic term - it refers to any accumulation of water surrounded by land - although it is often of a considerable size. A very large lake that contains salt water, is known as a sea (except the Sea of Galilee, which is actually a freshwater lake).

A sea can also be attached to, or even part of, an ocean. For example, the Caspian Sea is a large saline lake surrounded by land, the Mediterranean Sea is attached to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Sargasso Sea is a portion of the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by water.

Oceans are the ultimate bodies of water and refers to the four oceans - Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Indian (although sometimes the Antarctic Ocean or the Southern Ocean is referred to - it's the ocean south of 50 South latitude, surrounding Antarctica). The equator divides the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Oceans into the North and South Atlantic Ocean and the North and South Pacific Ocean.

Coves are the smallest indentations of land by a lake, sea, or ocean. A bay is larger than a cove and can refer to any wide indentation of the land. Larger than a bay is a gulf which is usually a deep cut of the land, such as the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of California. Bays and gulfs can also be known as inlets.

Any lake or pond directly connected to a larger body of water can be called a lagoon and a channel explains a narrow sea between two land masses, such as the English Channel.


Pacific Ocean area- 64,186,000, average depth- 15,215, deepest depth- Mariana Trench, 36,200 ft deep

Atlantic Ocean area- 33,420,000, average depth- 12,881, deepest depth- Puerto Rico Trench, 28,231 ft deep

Indian Ocean area- 28,350,000, average depth-13,002, deepest depth- Java Trench, 25,344 ft deep

Southern Ocean area-7,848,300 sq. miles (20.327 million sq km ), average depth- 13,100 - 16,400 ft deep (4,000 to 5,000 meters), deepest depth-the southern end of the South Sandwich Trench, 23,736 ft (7,235 m) deep

Arctic Ocean area-5,106,000 3,953 Eurasia Basin, 17,881 ft deep

 

Gray
Whales
Whale
Watching
Dolphins Coral
Reefs
Fish Exploration Oceans Davey
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