Elements of The Oceans:

General Information About Ocean Waves:

The study of waves is an important part of oceanography. Surface waves are caused by winds. As the wind continues to blow over the water, provided the distance is great enough, the size of the wave increases. The top of the wave is called its crest. The lowest part of a wave is its trough. The distance between the crest and the trough is called height or amplitude. The wavelength is the distance between the crests of one wave to the next.

The frequency is the number of waves that pass a given point in a given amount of time. The formula for frequency is:

F = number of waves / time in seconds

The period is the time it takes for to successive wave crests to pass the same point. The formula for a wave period is:

P = time in seconds / number of wave crests

As waves break along the shore, the land is eroded, ultimately making a sloping beach. The reason for the breaking of the waves is the wave motion. As the waves reach shallow water it will tumble over itself, much as a person ice-skating would fall forward when skating off the ice onto dry ground.

General Points of Information:

Additional Resources On Ocean Waves:

Ocean Waves Movie:

Downloadable Student Activities:

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