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Ch 33: Tectonics and the Ocean

About This Chapter

Use the following online video lessons and quizzes to help you understand waves, tides, properties of ocean water, and other ocean facts. Learn how plate tectonics affect volcanoes, earthquakes, and sea floor spreading.

Tectonics and the Ocean - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

In this chapter, our knowledgeable video instructors explain how tectonics and the ocean interact. You'll be introduced to the geologic time scale, seismograms, paleomagnetism, polar reversal, and various types of marine organisms. This chapter will discuss evidence for the theory of what makes up Earth's inner layers, evidence of plate tectonics, the locations of volcanoes, and more.

You'll learn about ocean circulation patterns and their effects on climate as well as the structure of the ocean, including currents, salinity, and other properties. As you progress through the chapter, you'll learn how plate tectonics explains a variety of the changes scientists see in the Earth's surface. When you finish this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Differentiate between major eons, eras, periods, and epochs in geological time
  • Describe hot spots, ocean drilling, and other evidence for plate tectonics
  • Understand how seismographs measure the intensity, magnitude, and epicenter of earthquakes
  • Understand the various shapes and compositions of volcanoes
  • Describe the causes and effects of tides

Use our video lessons to expand your knowledge of tectonics and the ocean. Each video lesson includes a written transcript, which allows you to read along, go over the lesson at your own pace, or watch the video without the audio, if you choose to. Each lesson also includes a self-assessment quiz, so you'll know right away how well you're learning and remembering the material. Instructors keep these videos lessons short and engaging with conversational language and easy-to-understand examples.

11 Lessons in Chapter 33: Tectonics and the Ocean
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

1. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.

Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Evidence of Earth's Inner Layers

2. Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Evidence of Earth's Inner Layers

The interior layers of the earth are not able to be observed directly, so scientists need to rely on other information to learn about it. S waves, P waves, and magma from volcanoes and earthquakes give a glimpse at the layers of the earth by providing data that can be built into a model of the earth.

Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface

3. Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface

After many years of trying to solve the mystery of the moving continents, enough data and evidence was collected to develop a unifying theory of how the surface of the earth changes. It's called plate tectonics.

Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics

4. Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics

The Deep Sea Drilling Project extracted samples of the ocean floor that provided evidence to support the hypothesis of seafloor spreading and the theory of plate tectonics. Learn how these samples provided proof.

Paleomagnetism and Hot Spots: Evidence for Plate Tectonics

5. Paleomagnetism and Hot Spots: Evidence for Plate Tectonics

Paleomagnetism is the study of past magnetic fields. Hot spots are fixed pockets of heat that well up to form volcanic features. Learn how paleomagnetism and the study of hot spots provide evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics.

Sea Floor Spreading and Polar Reversal

6. Sea Floor Spreading and Polar Reversal

Sea floor spreading is the process by which new oceanic crust is formed by the upwelling of magma through diverging tectonic plates. Learn about the relationship between sea floor spreading and polar reversals detected on the ocean floor.

Properties of Ocean Water

7. Properties of Ocean Water

Ocean waters are salty and contain minerals and dissolved gases. They also have a high heat capacity and vary in density depending on temperature and salinity. Learn more about the unique chemical and physical properties of ocean water.

What Are Tides? - Causes & Effects

8. What Are Tides? - Causes & Effects

Tides rise and fall under the influence of the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Learn about different tides, why they are predictable and their effects on coastal regions of the world.

Waves: Types, Features & Effect on Erosion

9. Waves: Types, Features & Effect on Erosion

There are different types of ocean waves, including wind waves, tsunamis and tidal waves. Learn the features of waves and how their erosive effect creates the unique features found on the shoreline.

Types of Marine Organisms

10. Types of Marine Organisms

Many marine organisms thrive under the surface of the ocean. Learn about the biodiversity of the oceans, from the microscopic plankton to the enormous whales, and how these organisms adapt to their oceanic environment.

Ocean Circulation: Patterns & Effect on Climate

11. Ocean Circulation: Patterns & Effect on Climate

The ocean waters are always in motion and as they travel around the globe they carry and distribute heat, which affects the global climate. Learn about the ocean circulation patterns and how they impact the climate.

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