OLP 2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth

Representative Image


Image caption

Fig. 1. OLP 2. Praia do monte Clérigo, Algarve, Portugual

Image copyright and source

Image adapted from Wikipedia, courtesy of Geerd-Olaf Freyer

Many earth materials and biogeochemical cycles originate in the ocean (Fig. 1). The ocean is the largest reservoir of the rapidly cycling carbon on Earth.



Many earth materials and biogeochemical cycles originate in the ocean. Many of the sedimentary rocks now exposed on land were formed in the ocean. Ocean life laid down the vast volume of siliceous and carbonate rocks.


Erosion—the wearing away of rock, soil and other biotic and abiotic earth materials—occurs in coastal areas as wind, waves, and currents in rivers and the ocean and the processes associated with plate tectonics move sediments. Most beach sand (tiny bits of animals, plants, rocks, and minerals) is eroded from land sources and carried to the coast by rivers; sand is also eroded from coastal sources by surf. Sand is redistributed seasonally by waves and coastal currents.


Tectonic activity, sea level changes, and the force of waves influence the physical structure and landforms of the coast.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.