Oceanography is the study of the oceans as ecological systems. In this section, learn about topics like currents, deep-sea research or how rogue waves work.

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Scientists have long been fascinated by the ocean's dynamic nature, where the force of the water collides with atmospheric phenomena to create waves of monumental size.

By Clarissa Mitton

All that seashell collecting you've been doing actually hurts the environment.

By Mark Mancini

The ocean’s depths are one of the most mysterious areas on the planet – and the inhabitants of this murky domain are stranger than anything you’ll find on land.


Early explorers drove flags into the ground to claim territories. But no one bothered to float a flag in the oceans. For the most part, we peaceably shared the oceans until we realized what valuable goods could be found in their dark and murky depths.

By Josh Clark

Ocean currents can have an incredible impact on Earth's weather. This gallery of images shows how powerful ocean currents can be in the environment.

By Rick Mayda

Whether you sail, surf, fish or collect shells, having one of these could help you out before you hit the water.

By Jennifer Horton

The waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet at the tip of Cape Horn and never the two shall mix, right?

By Jesslyn Shields


The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, plays an essential role in regulating ocean temperatures, but it looks as if it may be collapsing. What happens next?

By Joanna Thompson

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the world's largest landfill, and it can be found in the middle of the Pacific. Millions of pounds of trash collect here.

By Jacob Silverman

You might never notice the relentless movement of the oceans unless their waters went eerily still. What forces drive the oceans every second of the day?

By Jennifer Horton

The dead zone, caused by massive amounts of algae growth, is a vast area off the Gulf of Mexico that is deadly to marine life. How is human activity making the dead zone worse?

By Jacob Silverman


Rough times call for creative measures. The world is filled with oceans, and oceans are filled with wave energy that could potentially be transformed into power. Is wave energy a viable fossil fuel alternative?

By Jane McGrath

It's colorless, odorless and definitely life-sustaining, but is it invisible to the naked eye? Not usually. So what's going on with everyone's favorite liquid?

By Robert Lamb

How do they measure "sea level"? Is it the average of the tides? And is the sea level actually rising or not?

Also known as "freak waves," these colossal walls of water have been alleged to be in the range of 100 feet or more. Learn what separates rogue waves from other large waves, what causes them and find out about some of the better-known rogue wave incidents.

By Ed Grabianowski


As global freshwater sources become scarcer, desalination plants play an increasingly pivotal role, transforming our vast oceans into drinkable reserves. Let's delve deeper into the mechanics of these vital facilities.

By Laurie L. Dove & Desiree Bowie

The Pacific Ocean trash vortex is explained in this article. Learn about the Pacific Ocean trash vortex.

By Brian Merchant

Rip currents are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents. Learn what they are and what you should do if you get caught in one.

By Tom Harris

There's still a lot we don't know about the world. A thousand years ago, we thought we could literally sail off the edge of the planet. Good thing we're quick learners. But while space may be the final frontier, the ocean may be the greater mystery.

By Kate Kershner


There's no denying it: "Anomaly" is a great word, full of danger and mystery. So when an underwater object is declared a bona fide anomaly, it's no surprise our ears perk up a bit. But is the Baltic Sea anomaly worth the hype or just a big old dud?

By Kate Kershner & Yara Simón

The oceans are rising, and they're threatening to take down some of the world's brightest cultural gems. Here are 10 of the most notable spots endangered by climate change.

By Chris Opfer

Desalination has long been considered too expensive and too energy-intensive to make much sense. But with newer technologies, that line of thinking is changing. What are some of the most interesting desalination projects on the planet?

By Jessika Toothman

Underwater icicles, also called brinicles or sea stalactites, form when super-cold brine meets normal seawater. The sub-zero phenomenon can kill some sea life.

By Patrick J. Kiger


According to Guinness World Records, the waves in Nazaré, Portugal, are the biggest ever surfed. Scientists attribute the massive waves to an underwater canyon, but how does it work?

By Dylan Ris

The ocean is so deep, it puts the height of Mount Everest to shame.

By Mark Mancini