Ch 44: Understanding the Earth's Oceans

About This Chapter

If you need some help understanding the oceans of the Earth, this engaging chapter can help. Our mobile-friendly video and text lessons clearly outline these topics for you to review as you prepare for an upcoming exam or complete a challenging homework assignment.

Understanding the Earth's Oceans - Chapter Summary

This informative chapter contains lessons that outline the Earth's oceans. You'll review ocean water, waves, currents and different ocean formations, plus many additional topics. Once you finish this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Explain how the water on Earth is distributed
  • Outline the properties of ocean water
  • Describe the causes and effects of ocean tides
  • Detail the types of waves, their features and their effects on erosion
  • Discuss the different types of ocean currents
  • Give an example of an estuary and describe its characteristics
  • Identify how barrier islands are shaped and where they are located
  • Explain the steps and stages in reef, atoll and island formation

We've made studying not only convenient but enjoyable with these expertly designed and mobile-friendly learning materials. Our video lessons are generally less than 10 minutes long and accompanied by short quizzes to help you test your understanding. If you'd like to go back and review just one portion of a video lesson, use the video tabs feature found in the Timeline to do so.

8 Lessons in Chapter 44: Understanding the Earth's Oceans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Distribution of Water on Earth

1. The Distribution of Water on Earth

Water covers most of Earth but in a variety of forms. In this video lesson you will learn about how water is distributed on Earth, though you may be surprised to find out just how little of it we can access!

Properties of Ocean Water

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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.

What are Ocean Currents? - Definition & Types

5. What are Ocean Currents? - Definition & Types

Currents are responsible for circulating water throughout the earth's oceans. This lesson will discuss surface ocean currents, deep water ocean currents, and the forces that drive them.

Estuary: Definition, Facts, Characteristics & Examples

6. Estuary: Definition, Facts, Characteristics & Examples

Have you ever gone swimming, kayaking, or exploring in a marshy coastal area? If so, you were enjoying the natural beauty of an estuary, a place where rivers meet large bodies of water. These unique ecosystems are important, but also under threat.

Barrier Islands: Formation, Shape & Location

7. Barrier Islands: Formation, Shape & Location

In this lesson, we'll define barrier islands and learn how they form. We'll also look at how these types of islands, unlike other islands, can suddenly change shape or shift location over time. Lastly, we'll cover why these land masses are important to coastal areas.

Island, Reef & Atoll Formation: Steps & Stages

8. Island, Reef & Atoll Formation: Steps & Stages

Special features form in oceans where the water is relatively warm, and volcanic activity was present at some point in time. This lesson will go through the process involved in forming islands, reefs, and atolls.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Other Chapters

Other chapters within the GACE Special Education Mathematics & Science (088): Practice & Study Guide course