Ocean Regions Help (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 4, 2011


The littoral zone is a tidal depth gradient found closest to the shore. Since there are coastal currents, onshore and offshore winds, reefs, and bays in this area, the shoreline’s shape is fairly changeable. All these affecting factors make it tough to forecast water conditions accurately.

The littoral area is also where marine life, like jellyfish, is found. As many snorkellers know, there is more marine life to see near the shore than in the open ocean.

The littoral zone reaches from the shoreline to nearly 200m out into the open ocean. It is divided into three overlapping sections: the supralittoral zone, the intertidal zone, and the sublittoral zone.

The supralittoral or spray zone is only washed over during very high tides or during big storms. It begins at the leading edge of the high-tide line and goes back toward dry land. The intertidal zone is found between the high-tide and low-tide lines. The sublittoral zone extends from the low-tide line out to 200m in the water. Figure 13-7 shows the different subdivisions of the littoral zone.

Oceans Littoral

Fig. 13-7. The ever-changing littoral zone is divided into different tide areas.

Practice problems of this concept can be found at: Oceans Practice Test

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