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Section 7
Deep Circulation of the Ocean

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 7: Deep Circulation of the Ocean.


Inquiring Further

  1. To investigate density differences, each student will need:
    • Water
    • Salt
    • 3 eggs

  2. To learn more about how volcanic eruptions at divergent boundaries affect deep ocean currents, visit the following web sites:

    Submarine Volcanoes, Volcano World
    Reviews the basics of plate tectonics and examines closely submarine volcanoes at divergent and convergent boundaries and hot spots. The site has good images of underwater lava flows as well as images of the organisms that live near these submarine volcanoes.

    Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents, USGS
    General overview of submarine volcanic eruptions as well as information about specific underwater volcanoes including the volcanoes of the Juan de Fuca ridge in the Pacific, Kavachi of the Solomon Islands, Kick 'Em Jenny of the West Indies, the Loihi Seamount of Hawaii, and Surtsey and the Vestmannmaeyjar volcanics of Iceland.

    To learn more about how atmospheric circulation affects deep ocean circulation, visit the following web site:

    Ocean Circulation, The Encyclopedia of Earth
    Examines surface currents, deep ocean currents, and their connection to atmospheric circulation.

    To learn more about how the rotation of the Earth affects deep ocean circulation, visit the following web site:

    "Current" Events – Forces and Pressure on Currents, Texas A&M University
    Considers the effects of Earth’s rotation on ocean circulation.

    To learn more about how the biosphere is affected by deep ocean circulation, visit the following web sites:

    Exploring the deep ocean floor: Hot springs and strange creatures, USGS
    Takes a look at some of the organisms which live on the ocean floor. Includes color photos.

    Dive and Discover: Expeditions to the Seafloor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Examines the work of scientists—geologists, chemists and biologists—who are exploring the seafloor and making new deep-sea discoveries. Expedition 2 in particular has some information about life at sea vents.

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Resources

To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Seawater Temperature, Salinity, and Density

General Characteristics of the World's Oceans, NASA
Reviews the general characteristics of the oceans, including temperature and salinity.  Contains several full-color images.

Salinity, NASA
Overview of sea surface salinity and its importance to the water cycle and ocean circulation.

Temperature, NASA
Overview of sea surface temperature and its importance to climate.

Density of Ocean Water, Windows to the Universe
Examines how the density of ocean water changes with depth.

Temperature of Ocean Water, Windows to the Universe
Examines how the temperature of ocean water changes with depth.

Deep Ocean Circulation

The global ocean conveyor belt, NOAA
Describes the general circulation pattern of the Earth’s oceans. 

Thermohaline Circulation: The Global Ocean Conveyor, Windows to the Universe
Examines the large-scale pattern in which seawater moves around the global ocean.

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