less than 1 minute read


Surface Currents, Tidal Currents, Deep Water (or Density) Currents, Measuring Currents, Ocean Currents And ClimateTurbidity currents

Currents are steady, smooth movements of water following a specific course; they proceed either in a cyclical pattern or as a continuous stream. In the Northern Hemisphere, currents generally move in a clockwise direction, while in the Southern Hemisphere they move counterclockwise. There are three basic types of ocean currents: surface currents; currents produced by long wave movements or tides; and deep water currents. Furthermore, turbidity currents play a role in shaping underwater topography. Measured in a variety of ways, currents are responsible for absorbing solar heat and redistributing it throughout the world.

Turbidity currents are local, rapid-moving currents that travel along the ocean floor and are responsible for shaping its landscape. These currents result from water, heavy with suspended sediment, mixing with lighter, clearer water. Causes of turbidity currents are earthquakes or when too much sediment piles up on a steep underwater slope. They can move like avalanches. Turbidity currents often obscure the visibility of the ocean floor.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano group