During the expedition, Dallas Murphy will post questions on this page for our student explorers to ponder.
Week 1 Questions
Oct 4 - Underway on the Knorr
1. What do we mean by the "Arctic Circle"?
2. Where is the Arctic?
3. What countries are in the Arctic?
Oct 5 - In the Irminger Sea
4. Can you name the world oceans?
5. Can you find them on a map?
6. Can you see how the oceans are connected to each other?
Oct 6 - Wind on the Water
For the simple reason that we live in the world, it’s important to know geography. So please haul out your maps or globes and use them to answer these questions: Pretend you’re captain of ship steaming north from the Strait of Gibraltar to the west coast of Ireland.
7. What ocean will you be in?
8. What countries will be on the right side of your ship (your “starboard hand” in nautical language)?
9. After you put in safely on the west coast of Ireland, you receive orders from the ship owners to make for Trondheim, Norway.
10. Taking the most direct route to Trondheim, what country will lie to the east of your ship?
11. What islands will lay east of your ship?
12. Now, after a safe passage, you arrive in Trondheim, Norway, and your pesky owners order you to Reykjavik, Iceland.
13. Would it be faster to pass to the north of Iceland to reach Reykjavik, or to the south?
14. Then the owners tell you to proceed from Reykjavik to Cape Farewell, Greenland.
15. What sea must you cross to reach Cape Farewell?
16. Once you put in at Cape Farwell, they want you to proceed to St. John’s, Newfoundland, but you say, “No, I quit.” And you fly home to London, England.
17. What direction will the airplane go to reach London?
Oct 7 - The Angry Irminger
18. The second largest ice sheet in the world covers Greenland. Where is the largest?
19. The entire coast of Greenland is made up of fjords. What is a fjord?
20. Who are the native people of Greenland?
21. Who were the first Europeans to live in Greenland? What became of them?
Oct 8 - Bridges and Galleys
22. Why do we call the sides of a ship “port” and “starboard” instead of just left and right?
23. What do these parts of a ship mean? Topsides? Beam? Transom?
24. What instrument do you use to measure a ship’s “heading”?
25. What distinguishes the “main deck” from the other decks?
Oct 10 - Convection and the Crouton Count
A current is described by its “set” and “drift.” Let’s say we have a current flowing at two knots from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea.
26. What is its set?
27. What is its drift?
Week 2 Questions
Oct 11 - The Great Sinking
28. Can you trace the course of the Gulf Stream on a map?
29. The North Atlantic Current?
30. Why does water sink in the Irminger Sea?
Oct 12 - Staying Put
One of the most important advances in the history of oceanography as well as navigation itself is the Global Positioning System, or GPS.
31. What is GPS?
32. How does it work?
Oct 13 - Current? What Current?
Benjamin Franklin, the American diplomat, inventor, “founding father,” and polymath holds a special place in the history of oceanography.
33. What did he do?
34. And, incidentally, what’s a polymath?
35. There are basically two sorts of plankton. What is the main difference between them?
Oct 14 - Storms
Try to find a weather map for your area. The Internet might be your best bet. Think of it as a map of the movement of air overhead.
36. Is your weather dominated by a high pressure or low pressure of some combination of both?
37. What do you suppose those arrows with feathers on one side symbolize?
38. Try to find a weather map for the region between Iceland and Greenland. It will come in handy later.
Oct 15 - The Great Barrier
39. What is the bridge?
40. What is the bridge officer's responsibility?
41. What is the bosun's area of responsibility?
Oct 17 - Melting
42. The United-Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report of 2007 is arguably the most important message ever delivered by scientists to the public. For their work, the 200-plus scientists who drafted the report were awarded the Nobel Prize. What was their message to us?
Week 3 Questions
Oct 20 - Hard Land, Hard Water
43. “Topography” is a description or picture of the shape of land. What is “bathymetry”?
Oct 22 - Night Show
44. The Inuit, for instance, were an aboriginal culture. What does that mean?
45. What is the difference between myth and legend?
Oct 23 - The Warning
46. The circulation around a region of low pressure is properly called “cyclonic,” while that around a high pressure is called “anti-cyclonic.” Which way do the winds circulate in both?
Oct 24 - The Long Stream
47. Try Googling “Franklin’s Gulf Stream Chart” and then a modern map of the Gulf Stream’s course. What differences do you see?
Week 4 Questions
Oct 27 - Bottom Effect
48. You might be interested in looking into “plate tectonics.” That’s the name of the explain-it-all discovery I mentioned in the Oct 27 dispatch. To make a complex, beautiful story short, the continents and the bottoms of the ocean slide (slowly) around on vast lakes of molten rocks aboard “plates,” the name for giant chunks of Earth’s crust. For example, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a seam in the Earth where volcanic action is actually spreading the plates on which Europe and North America ride. This means that the Atlantic Ocean is widening by about an inch a year. There is much more to this fascinating story—including the explanation of why do mountains exist. You might be interested.