The Ultimate Oceanography Quiz

By: Nathan Chandler

The Ultimate Oceanography Quiz
Image: © Pascal Parrot/Sygma/Corbis

About This Quiz

Most of our planet is covered by oceans, parts of which we have yet to explore. How much do you know about the oceans and oceanography, the study of the great waters?
Modern oceanography is typically attributed to the Challenger Expedition, which began when?
1872
The British expedition took rock samples, recorded water temperatures and performed many other important observations.
1888
1891

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How long did the Challenger Expedition last?
18 months
two years
four years
The journey took the crew all around the world, from England to the Hawaiian Islands.

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What topic does physical oceanography research?
Properties of seawater
The chemistry of sea water changes constantly depending on weather conditions and many other factors.
The shallow areas where land meets water
The traits of underwater soils

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In what year was the Gulf Stream discovered?
1221
1513
But before its official discovery, sailors had already been putting it to consistent use for their journeys.
1698

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What is the approximate temperature of the deep ocean?
39 degrees Fahrenheit
The deep ocean is a dark and frigid place.
42 degrees Fahrenheit
45 degrees Fahrenheit

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About how many new plant and animal species did researchers find during the Challenger Expedition?
1,500
4,700
The nearly 69,000-mile trip exposed the crew to all manner of exciting flora and fauna.
6,200

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What percentage of the world's volcantic activity occurs within the oceans?
90%
Those volcanic eruptions have a large impact on the surrounding ecosystems.
70%
50%

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Who named the Gulf Stream?
Columbus
Juan Ponce de Leon
Benjamin Franklin
His numerous journeys across the Atlantic gave him ample time to measure and observe the ocean.

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Which oceanographer's last film documented the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska?
Sylvia Earle
Jacques Cousteau
His nine-season TV series enthralled humans with new perspectives on the underwater world.
Robert Ballard

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If you study chemical elements in seawater, you're practicing which branch of oceanography?
Biological oceanography
Physical oceanography
Chemical oceanography
The oceans perpetually cycle chemicals of all kinds through their currents.

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How did the first researchers determine ocean depths?
They refracted light into the depths.
Rope and lead weights
It was called sounding, and it was primitive but effective.
They attached rope to a large fish and released it.

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In feet, what's the greatest difference between high and low tides anywhere on Earth?
eight feet
31 feet
53 feet
This enormous tide happens in the Bay of Fundy, near Nova Scotia.

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How many tons of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy during one tide cycle?
40 billion tons
160 billion tons
That's more than the total flow of Earth's freshwater rivers.
220 billion tons

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Which explorer-oceanographer finally explained the reason for "dead water?"
Matthew Maury
Fridtjof Nansen
Vagh Ekman
It's an odd phenomenon where salty and fresh water don’t mix, reducing a ship propeller's ability to move a ship.

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What is NOT a primary contributing factor to ocean currents?
Tides
Temperature is another major variable in currents.
Wind
Salinity

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Which oceanographic institution came first?
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
It was founded in 1902 and the headquarters is in Denmark.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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What is El Nino?
A surge of cold water that dips into the Atlantic Ocean about every four years.
An occasional shift of warm water from the western to eastern Pacific Ocean.
El Nino can cause crazy changes in weather patterns that impact millions of people.
Increasingly warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico that dramatically shift weather patterns.

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A company in which country developed Deepsea Challenger, which was built to dive to the deepest spot on Earth?
Australia
Hollywood director James Cameron dove to the bottom of Challenger Deep in the machine in 2012.
Japan
United States

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Rising ocean temperatures account for what percentage of energy accumulation from global warming?
50%
70%
90%
The spiking temperatures affect everything from sea life to weather.

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Which country has the longest ocean coastline?
United States
Russia
Canada
It has more than 56,000 miles of coastline.

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How many sonar measurements did the German Meteor expedition use to document the Mid-Atlantic ridge?
20,000
70,000
The expedition lasted nearly two years and confirmed that the ridge was the longest mountain range on Earth.
1 million

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Mary Sears was a Navy commander and oceanographer who spent many years studying which creatures?
sardines
plankton
One of her research titles was planktonologist.
tuna

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What was the name of one of the first oceanographical texts ever published?
"Physical Geography of the Sea"
It was written by Matthew Maury, who headed the United States Naval Observatory.
"The Sea"
"The Underwater World"

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In what year did Matthew Maury publish his groundbreaking text, "Physical Geography of the Sea?"
1832
1855
Countries from around the world sent data to Maury for analysis and documentation in the book.
1898

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What is the record for the tallest iceberg?
380 feet
550 feet
Keep in mind that 7/8ths of icebergs are submerged.
890 feet

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What tools do oceanographers often use to predict El Nino-related phenomena?
Radar
Nuclear submarines
A collection of buoys
The buoys send streams of data that scientists use to predict weather and more.

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Which explorer-oceanographer earned the nickname "The Sturgeon General?'
Robert Ballard
Sylvia Earle
She was a chief scientist at NOAA and has spent more than 6,500 hours underwater.
James Cook

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What ocean feature did Bruce Heezen and Maurice Ewing discover in 1953?
The Mid-Ocean Ridge
Back then, it was more epically called the Great Global Rift.
The biggest underwater volcano
Mariana Trench

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Oceanographers blame ocean acidification on what?
Industrial waste, mostly from power generation
Human-caused carbon dioxide
Scientists fear that humans are essentially poisoning the ocean.
Nuclear waste dumped into the sea in the early 1980's

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Which oceanographer made important observations regarding ocean circulation?
Alfred Wegner
Henry Stommel
He showed that the Coriolis force was a major factor in how ocean waters circulated.
Mary Sears

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You Got:
/30
© Pascal Parrot/Sygma/Corbis

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