CCD & Calcareous Ooze Assignment

Cynthia M. Lampe, Ventura College
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The assignment pre-tests student understanding of the CCD, lysocline, calcareous ooze, and the deposition of marine sediments near mid-ocean ridges and ocean basins.

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Introductory Oceanography course for non-majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have mastered the concept of plate tectonics, in particular mid-ocean ridges, bathymetry of the ocean floor, and marine sediments.

How the activity is situated in the course

This exercise is assigned after lectures on plate tectonics and marine sediments. This can be an individual or group assignment. The assignment is graded, returned, and the correct answers are discussed during class approximately one week before the exam.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

To understand the relationships of the CCD, lysocline, calcareous ooze and mid-ocean ridges.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students will analyze a hypothetical situation and predict the results of marine sedimentation along a mid-ocean ridge.

Other skills goals for this activity

This exercise can be completed as an in-class group assignment.

Description and Teaching Materials

This assignment helps students visually understand the relationships of the CCD, lysocline, calcareous ooze and mid-ocean ridges. I have drawn a cross-sectional diagram of the ocean's surface to the ocean basin including a mid-ocean ridge. Note that this diagram is not to scale. The students will then label the diagram with the terms/phrases provided. There are 8 questions that range in difficulty from simple definitions and concepts to analyzing and predicting a hypothetical situation.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The diagram is not drawn to scale. The calcareous tests in the diagram are enlarged and just a graphical representation of actual foraminifers that are very small and coccolithophores that are microscopic.


This assignment is worth 50 points (15 points for question #1 and 5 points each for questions 2 - 8). If all students earn at least 35/50 points, which is a 70%, I considerate it a success! Plus, after the class discussion they will have the correct answers to use to study for the exam.

References and Resources

Garrison, T., 2012, 'Essentials of Oceanography', Sixth Edition; Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 436 p.
Textbook, Chapter 5 - Ocean Sediments.

Morelock, J. and Ramirez, W., 2005, Marine Geology - Deep Sea & Paleogeography - Biogenic Sediments; University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Web Site
Chemical reaction for dissolution.

Palike, Heiko, and et al, 2012, A Cenozoic Record of the Equatorial Pacific Carbonate Compensation Depth, Nature 488, 609–614 (30 August 2012) Published online 29 August 2012.
Diagram/Graph of Water Depth vs. Carbonate Accumulation Rate.

Trujillo, A. and Thurman, H., 2011, 'Essentials of Oceanography', Tenth Edition; Prentice Hall, 551 p. Textbook, Chapter 4 - Marine Sediments.