Posts Tagged ‘Ocean’

You have been challenged to design a practical underwater laboratory, or habitat, for aquanauts to live and work  for one to two weeks while they conduct marine science research. The considerations you’ve been ask to account for in your design are:


One thing that you are not taking into consideration is the practicality of building your aquapod and assembling it underwater.

A network of focused experimental sites are being constructed in the Northeast Pacific Ocean to serve researchers, students, educators, and policymakers and begin “a new era of scientific discovery and understanding of the oceans”. The research stations are not habitats for living in but rather a series of sites with an array of monitoring equipment for monitoring chemical, physical, biological, and sediment conditions.

Your task today is to:

  1. Read the news article describing the observatory.
  2. Watch two or three three short videos of the work being undertaken. I suggest Dive 1482 Highlights, Dive 1604, and Dive 1596 Highlights.
  3. Read the National Geographic article Huge Molasses Spill Off Hawaii: A Diver’s Report.
  4. Write a two to three paragraph blog post that reflects either:  a) your thoughts on the observatory installation (How tricky is it to build an underwater research station? What considerations must be accounted for?); or b) your thoughts on the effects of the molasses spill (How should people respond to this? Could this have been prepared for? What should be done next?).

That’s it: two to three paragraph blog post on one of the above topics (but read both). Make sure you label your post, include cited pictures, and include at least two hyperlinks to further information.

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Gulf of Maine Bathymetry

On this field trip I learned mostly about the temperature changes in the Gulf of Maine.  The temperature changes each season and so does the water temperature.  I did not know that there were different colors that symbolize different temperatures.  It was interesting to learn about that.  I found out that it has extreme seasonal temperature changes, “Its nearness to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, its broad expanse of glacially carves basins and channels, and the seasonally extreme water temperatures.” During the seasons the temperature has a drastic change from warm to cold water.  On the field trip we made charts and figured out which colors symbolize what temperature.  It was a fun field trip that helped me learn more about the ocean, temperatures, and the Gulf of Maine.



NOAA_temp Gulf of Maine Chart

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Sand is always moving. The beaches you might visit everyday are not perminent features. The shape and size of beaches change everyday on a small scale and somtimes drastically over a longer period of time. The changes occur becasue of various reasons but its always because of the sand moving.

In our Oceanography class we looked at different sand samples from around the United States under microscopes and noticed the many differences. Some of the differences are visable to the naked eye and some require the use of a microscope. Here is the list of traits we observed:

  • Color
  • Magnetite
  • Size
  • Texture
  • Wentworth Scale
  • Sorting
  • Composition

A few days after doing our observations we went on a field trip to our local beach. We looked at the sand closely but it did not look any different than the sand we were used to. Although the sand varys greatly around the world, it usually doesnt look very different when the beaches are close to each other. The drastic changes can only seen if one compares sand from different areas across the world. Here is a few examples of the diversity found in beach sand colors.





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First sited by Captain John Smith in the seventeenth-century, Massachusetts’ Plum Island serves as an eleven-mile stretch of tranquil peace. In 1621 a grant by the Plymouth Council for New England deeded Plum Island to then-governor Captain John Mason who never acted on the grant. Plum Island was part of a similar grant to Massachusetts Bay Colony but eventually, the General Court decided that it could not be loyal to the claim of ownership. The middle of the seventeenth-century was when the first known use of Plum Island was recorded. Around this time, it was used as a pasture for animals. Before it was an island, Captain John Smith described the vast land: “On the east is an Ile two or three leagues in length; the one halfe, plaine morish grasse fit for pasture, with many faire high groves of mulberrie trees gardens; and there is also Okes, Pines and other woods to make this place an excellent habitation, beeing a good and safe harbor.” In the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries, Plum Island became a site for several hotels which drew much tourist attraction. In today’s twenty-first century, Plum Island is a famous vacation spot for tourists and it’s rich history serves as the cornerstones for its widespread popularity and vast beauty.


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Sand Variation

In class recently, and on our field trip, we studied & observed the difference in sand particles from different places on Earth. From looking at sand through microscopes, we discovered that there were many different colors, sizes, and textures of sand particles depending on where the sand was from. The different locations of beaches all around the world affect the appearance and quantity of sand particles – for example, sand from St. Kitts was very small and colorful. The particles themselves were many different shapes, and the sand also consisted of small ocean creatures. Sand particles from Niles Beach were all relatively the same size, but the color and texture varied very much – some sharp and rough granules, and others round and smooth. Sand from Pine Island, Florida appeared to be very rock-like and would have probably been better considered to be gravel. The sand granules from Maui were all very smooth and round – and also, the colors consisted of red, purple, yellow, brown, clear, and some orange. Sand from Green Isle, Louisiana consisted of some very small particles, and also very large, jagged pieces that looked out of place. Particles of sand from the Virgin Gorda were roughly all the same size, but again, very sharp and un-even. The last collection of sand our class looked at was from the Mt. Desert Island Maine – all the grains of sand were quite large and spread out under the microscope. The colors of each particle seemed quite similar, and each piece looked like puzzle pieces that appeared to all fit together. The variation in sand particle appearance and texture has all to do with the tides & currents, the contents of the water where the sand is from, the water temperature, and also what kind of minerals or rocks the sand is made up of.

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