OSU OC 103 - e-OC103-Lesson11 (9 pages)

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e-OC103-Lesson11



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e-OC103-Lesson11

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Pages:
9
School:
Oregon State University
Course:
Oc 103 - Exploring The Deep: Geography Of The World's Oceans

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OC103 Lesson 11 Paleoceanography and the Record of Climate Change As sediments accumulate on the seafloor they create a record of what was going on in that area of the ocean over time Think of it as similar to your dirty laundry pile the items you used most recently are on the top of the pile and digging down into the pile is like going back in time until you reach the items at the bottom of the pile that you wore the longest ago If you were to carefully observe the order of the clothes in your pile you could recreate the exact order of what you wore since you last did laundry which could tell you how rainy or cold it was how many parties weddings and funerals you went to etc Marine sediments can be treated in the same way because they record past conditions of ocean and climate as well as what is happening on any nearby land For example Turbidites record underwater mud avalanches and possibly the frequency and size of earthquakes that serve to shake loose and start a mud avalanche Volcanic ash layers in deep sea sediments record volcanic activity in an area The rise of a mountain chain on land is reflected by changes in sediments dumped into the ocean by rivers that drain the new mountain chain This lesson describes how marine sediments can be used to decipher past ocean and climate conditions and answer important questions about how those conditions might change in the future Oceanographers collect sediments from the seafloor for two types of studies 1 to see what is being deposited under the most recent conditions which we can correlate with our historical observations of conditions and 2 to use these correlations to look at older sediments to determine how the conditions varied over time Because the most recent sediments are deposited on top of older sediments digging or drilling down into the sediments is like going back in time The most common way to sample into the sediments is to use a coring device which is basically a sturdy pipe with a heavy weight on one



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