FINAL EXAMINATION ESSAY QUESTIONS
GEOL 3030 - Elementary Oceanography - University of Georgia

    The Final Exam will consist of two parts.  The first part will be an exam over material since the last exam.  The format of the first part of the exam will be similar to the previous mid-term exams.

    In the second part of your final exam, you will be asked to answer one of the following questions by writing an essay in response.  You will be expected to produce a summary that is both (a) factually correct and complete and (b) coherent and well-organized.  The question will be chosen by a random procedure.  The answers to these questions should be in any student's lecture notes.

    The purpose of the second part of the exam is to encourage you to develop a well-integrated understanding of some of the main themes in oceanography.  At the same time, it frees you from memorizing peripheral details that you might otherwise expect to find on a less focused cumulative final exam.  If you go away from the course remembering only your answers to these questions, you'll depart with an understanding of the most important aspects of oceanography.

 

1. How does plate tectonic theory explain the physiographic provinces and features of the ocean basins?  Your answer should include the major physiographic provinces and how they relate to specific parts of plate tectonic theory.

 

2. Explain the surface circulation of the oceans, beginning with principal driving forces and ending with the general pattern of surface currents in a typical ocean basin.

 

3. Explain the deep circulation of oceans, both in terms of driving forces and in terms of patterns of deep circulation.

 

4. Explain how most ocean waves originate, what controls the extent of their development, and what processes happen to waves as they meet their end.

 

5. Explain the behavior of the tides according to dynamic theory, both in terms of their behavior as waves and in terms of their passage through the oceans.  Why is dynamic theory superior to equilibrium theory in explaining the behavior of the tides at a global scale?

 

6. What sorts of organisms are the primary producers in the marine ecosystem?  How does the abundance of primary producers in the oceans compare with the abundance of higher carnivores?  What fundamental principles dictate this difference in abundances?

 

7. What two ultimate energy sources drive the marine ecosystem(s)?  If we divide marine life into two ecosystems on the basis of these energy sources, how is each ecosystem distributed through the oceans and why is each distributed the way it is?

 

8. One of the recurrent themes of this course has been that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are very different.  What are the differences between the Atlantic and Pacific, and why do they exist?  (Note that some of these differences exist because of other differences that you should mention.) There's a table of differences to help you with this.

 

9. One of the recurrent themes of this course has been the special nature of the Southern Ocean.  What geographic factors and oceanographic phenomena make the Southern Ocean unique?  


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