Marine sediments are deposit of small particles from rock and soil. They are gathered from weathering rocks, ice, land and even the outer space. These sediments cover a great surface of the ocean floor.
But is there any use of these sediments? The answers to that question are explained in these 17 Importance of Marine Sediments. They hold a great importance, much more than you think.
1. Understand Past Climate
Marine sediments hold the key in understanding the earth’s past climate. Its composition, especially the volcanic ash, give scientists the crucial information that they need. Through this, we can have more knowledge on the formation of the ocean and the earth as a whole.
2. Predict Changing Climate
Not only are marine sediments useful for understanding the past, it can also help in making predictions about the future. This is especially needed in terms of climate. Climate change is a serious issue that seems to speed up by the minute. Predictions can provide the ways we can prepare for it.
3. Beach Replenishment
Sometimes the sand on the beach experiences erosion for many reasons. It’s important to replace it and the only way to do that is through marine sediments. The sediments in the ocean can be used to replenish beaches that are very lacking in sand.
4. Cables Placement
There are currently many cables placed on the deep marine sediments out there in the ocean. They are used for various reasons such as for telecommunication industries. Without the sediments, the cables won’t have a reliable surface to lie on.
5. Determine Offshore Drilling Location
Evaluating marine sediments can also give insight into the right location for offshore drilling. They can give information on what lies underneath them. Other than that, it can also be important in knowing whether it would be safe or not to drill in the location.
6. Protection for Marine Creatures
Some marine creatures rely on marine sediments for survival. They often hide in the sediments or camouflage their bodies to resemble them. That way, they can cleverly avoid any predators that are coming after them.
7. Study the Effects of Waste
Scientists can study the impact of waste on the ocean through the sediments too. Large or small scaled waste may get trapped inside the marine sediments. This can provide an understanding on the changing composition of the sediments or the nature of waste in the ocean.
8. Chalk Making
The chalk that we used to write are actually made from marine sediments. To be more specific, they are made up of small coccoliths. They are particles that form soft rock which will then turned to chalk.
9. Food Source
Some marine creatures in the ocean look for food in the marine sediments. They prey on the sedimentary small creatures that live there. Without the sediments, they won’t be able to feed themselves.
10. Turned to Earth
The marine sediments in the bottom of the ocean floor can actually turn back into the materials for the earth. This apparently can happen along the subduction zones. It’s almost like a recycling process where the sediments are used back by the earth.
Read more: General Characteristics of Oceanic Crust
11. Movements of the Earth’s Plates
Marine sediments can also help in knowing how the earth’s plates move. This will be useful in understanding how earthquakes happen under the ocean. Through marine sediments, there could be movement patterns that could be observed by scientists.
Also read: Characteristics of Oceanic Plates
12. Support Plants Growth
The plants that grow inside the ocean need sunlight and water. But other than those things, they also need various nutrients that marine sediments can provide. Marine plants are crucial to the health of the ocean so it’s important for them to be in their best state as much as possible.
13. Absorb Carbon Dioxide
A huge percentage of the carbon dioxide in the world are actually trapped inside the marine sediments. So, they are a big contributor in the carbon recycle process on earth. Without the sediments, we would be experiencing an overwhelming amount of carbon that could cause harm to us all.
Also read: Characteristics of Ocean Ecosystem
14. Keep the Ocean Water Clean
Clean ocean water is needed to ensure that every marine creature will live in the right condition. Marine sediments help to make this possible as they act as a filter for any pollutants in the ocean. They are able to absorb toxic elements that are not needed to float freely in the open seas.
15. Maintain Marine Biodiversity
Marine sediments maintain marine biodiversity through chains of causes and effects. Marine creatures are able to flourish when there is a good food chain that they can rely on. They can also last longer when the condition in the ocean is right. All those things can happen due to the presence of sediments.
16. Building Materials
Sometimes, we need marine sediments to make buildings. The materials that are made from marine sediments are often high in quality and last longer. They are important in building structures to be as strong as possible.
17. Provide Healthy corals
Corals take in nitrogen as an additional supply of nutrients for them. Marine sediments contain this nitrogen and when they are close to a coral’s growth, they can help to act as a fertiliser. This will guarantee a healthy living corals in the ocean.
Read also: Importance Nitrogen in Marine Environment
Even though these marine sediments are hidden deep beneath the ocean floor, that doesn’t make them any less important than the other parts of the ocean. They are relevant enough to uncover the earth’s past, contribute to the wellbeing of the ocean and help us to carry on with our lives. That’s why we must always care for the ocean’s health as it also affects the condition of the marine sediments.