Term Paper: Oceanography What Were the Significant Contributions

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What were the significant contributions of James Cook, Matthew Maury, and the Challenger Expedition? How did their contributions lead to a better understanding of oceanography?

James Cook was the first person to have a trip dedicated exclusively to oceanography. The contributions that he made to a better understanding of oceanography include: the invention of the chronometer, the mapping of Venus and the discovery of Hawaii. The chronometer is: a watch / clock that is not affected by the up and down motion of the sea. One of Cook's major objectives was to map the distance of Venus between the Earth and the Sun. He then, used this information to accurately calculate distance between the Earth and the Sun. In spite of these significant contributions, he will always be remembered as the person who discovered Hawaii (a distinction that would cost him his life). ("History of Ocean Exploration and Marine Sciences," n.d.)

Matthew Maury was an American Naval officer, who was to the first person to discover worldwide wind patterns and currents. This was used to help make long distance sailing more effective. Another lasting contribution from Maury was his recording system for oceanographic data, became adopted around the globe. ("History of Ocean Exploration and Marine Sciences," n.d.)

The Challenger expedition is the only expedition that was dedicated completely to oceanography. In 1872, the HMS Challenger would depart England, embarking on a trip encompassing 70,000 nautical miles. On the way, the expedition would survey over 47,000 new species of plant and animal life. What makes this expedition so significant is: it would set the standard for all future expeditions in oceanography. ("Challenger Expedition," 2010)

Compare three types of convergent plate boundaries (oceanic-oceanic, oceanic-continental, and continental-continental) and describe what happens at each. Provide specific geographic examples.

A convergent boundary is when one plate will collide with another. When this happens, it means that the plate will be recycled back into the core of the Earth (which causes one plate slide underneath the other). When the plates are colliding with one another; this is what is known as subduction zones. Within the zones, is where volcanoes and mountains have been known to form, as the one plate pushing beneath the other will cause the crust to rise outward. An oceanic -- oceanic convergence is when: two oceanic plates are colliding. Over millions of years, underwater volcanoes develop; when they erupt they leave deposits on the ocean floor. Then, as one plate slides beneath the other, the volcano rises out of the ocean to form an island. ("Plate Boundaries," 2005) a good example of this kind of formation would be the various Japanese islands. ("Plate Tectonics," n.d.)

An oceanic - continental convergence is when the oceanic plate will collide with the continental plate. As this is occurring the oceanic plate will break of small pieces. Over the course of millions of years, this will lead to earthquakes that will be accompanies by a rise in the land of few meters. ("Plate Boundaries," 2005) an example of this occurred when the Cascade Mountains were formed as the oceanic plant went below the continental plate. ("Plate Tectonics," n.d.)

A continental -- continental convergence is when the two continental plates are colliding with one another. As one plate is sliding beneath the other, it will break off and leave debris. When earthquakes occur this debris will rise through the surface of the Earth, causing mountain ranges to emerge. A good example of this would be the Himalaya's, as they were formed with Eurasian plate overriding the Indian plate. ("Plate Boundaries," 2005)

What are the distributions of siliceous ooze and calcareous ooze and what are the causes of these distributions?

Siliceous ooze and calcareous ooze are classified as pelagic sediments. This is marine sediment that accumulated in the abysmal plain of deep water oceans. Calcareous ooze is when shells in the test family (foraminifera, pteropods and cocclithophere) are covering the ocean floor. They can live at a depth of a maximum of: four to five meters. What causes the calcareous distribution is the anything below this depth will affect the overall amount of calcium (one of the main ingredients) to dissolve. Out of survival, you will see this kind of distribution at the necessary depths. (Garrison, 2008)

Siliceous ooze is a substance that is composed of the debris from plankton to include: scilia shells, diatoms and radiolaria. The distribution area is limited to areas where there are high amounts of biological activities taking place including: the poles and areas around the equator. This is the least common type of sediment, covering only 15% of the entire ocean floor. The distribution for the siliceous ooze is: up swelling bottom water. This is where the cold water from the lower depths of the ocean will rise to the surface, cooling the warmer water at the top. In the poles, this would thrive because of the obvious colder ocean water constantly coming to the surface. This condition would exist in areas around the equator when weather occurrences such as: El Nino takes place. When this happens, the colder water from the lower depths will cool the warmer surface water. (Garrison, 2008) Once this takes place, it is only a matter of time until; siliceous ooze can be distributed in such an environment. Together both siliceous ooze and calcareous ooze highlights how various sediments are distributed on the ocean floor. (Garrison, 2008)

What are the major features in an ocean basin with a passive continental margin? Describe the processes which formed them. Compare these features to ocean basins with active margins.

A continental margin is the outer edge of the continental plate. It is composed of the continental shelf and the continental slope. A passive continental margin is when there is a gentle slope in the continental shelf, followed by a steady rise as you move further in towards the continental plate. The way that a passive continental margin is formed is through a gradual process that slowly merges the continental margin with the ocean plate. This forms a mantle to support the continental margin, giving it the gradual slope because it has more support. An example of such formations can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean, where it is believed that large oil reserves exist off the continental shelf. (Garrison, 2008)

An active margin is when the continental plate is slammed into the oceanic plate. Once this takes place, it means that there are increased amounts of tectonic activity including: earthquakes, the formation of volcanoes and mountains. This is different from the passive margin, in that it is formed by sudden shifts that occur, as the different plates slam into one another. Where, the slope on the margin is more dramatic; highlighting the shifts that occur as the different plates are colliding with each other. In an active margin, there are visible signs of this activity as various sedimentary formations stick out of the surface of the Earth. An example of an active margin would be: when the South American plate slams into the oceanic plate. This caused the formation of the Andes Mountains, in addition to numerous earthquakes seen throughout the region. (Garrison, 2008)

Describe several properties of water. How are the properties significant for oceanography?

There are three properties of water these include: as liquid, solid and a gas. When water is a liquid, it is at the temperature above freezing and below the boiling point. Water will become a solid when the temperature will falls below the freezing. To become a gas, the temperature must rise above the boiling point.

The properties of water are significant for oceanography; because they provide the basic foundation for life in the ocean. The reason why this matters is, when changes occur in ocean temperature it can have a dramatic affect… [END OF PREVIEW]

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