Amazing Facts

Ocean Color, Sound and Light

A few hundred meters below the ocean's surface
it is dark because
light cannot penetrate to those depths. Blue light penetrates water
farther than red or violet light, and because more blue light is
returned to the surface without being absorbed, the open ocean usually
looks blue in color.

Seawater may look blue-green when it contains
a large amount of
phytoplankton - tiny plant-like organisms that contain chlorophyll. The
yellow-brown sea found in coastal regions probably gets its coloring
from mud, sand or pollution.

Sound - particularly high-frequency sound -
penetrates much farther
than light does in the ocean. This property has led to the development
of echo-sounders which are used to construct pic­tures of the ocean

Sound can also be used to locate shoals of
fish. At a depth of
between about 500m and 1,500m a sound channel exists where sound waves
can be trapped and along which they travel for large distances. Whales
have been known to use the sound channel to commu­nicate with each
other when they are thousands of kilometers apart; zoologists believe
that their long-distance "songs" may attract others to new hunting or
breeding grounds.

The sound channel has also been used by
submarines when hiding in the
ocean. A submarine floating in or below the sound channel is difficult
to detect because most of the noise it makes travels horizontally, and
cannot be picked up by ships at the surface.

Related Tags: Ocean  Light  Sound  
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