# Wave base

Last updated

The wave base, in physical oceanography, is the maximum depth at which a water wave's passage causes significant water motion. For water depths deeper than the wave base, bottom sediments and the seafloor are no longer stirred by the wave motion above. [1]

Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters.

## Process

In seawater, the water particles are moved in a circular orbital motion when a wave passes. The radius of the circle of motion for any given water molecule decreases exponentially with increasing depth. The wave base, which is the depth of influence of a water wave, is about half the wavelength.

Seawater, or salt water, is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5%. This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately 35 grams (1.2 oz) of dissolved salts. Average density at the surface is 1.025 kg/L. Seawater is denser than both fresh water and pure water because the dissolved salts increase the mass by a larger proportion than the volume. The freezing point of seawater decreases as salt concentration increases. At typical salinity, it freezes at about −2 °C (28 °F). The coldest seawater ever recorded was in 2010, in a stream under an Antarctic glacier, and measured −2.6 °C (27.3 °F). Seawater pH is typically limited to a range between 7.5 and 8.4. However, there is no universally accepted reference pH-scale for seawater and the difference between measurements based on different reference scales may be up to 0.14 units.

In classical geometry, a radius of a circle or sphere is any of the line segments from its center to its perimeter, and in more modern usage, it is also their length. The name comes from the Latin radius, meaning ray but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. The plural of radius can be either radii or the conventional English plural radiuses. The typical abbreviation and mathematical variable name for radius is r. By extension, the diameter d is defined as twice the radius:

A quantity is subject to exponential decay if it decreases at a rate proportional to its current value. Symbolically, this process can be expressed by the following differential equation, where N is the quantity and λ (lambda) is a positive rate called the exponential decay constant:

At depths greater than half the wavelength, the water motion is less than 4% of its value at the water surface [2] and may be neglected.

For example, in a pool of water 1 metre (3.3 ft) deep, a wave with a 3 metres (9.8 ft) wavelength would be moving the water at the bottom. In the same pool, a wave with a wavelength of 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) would not be able to cause water movement on the bottom.

## Distinctions

There are typically two wave bases, the fair weather wave base (FWWB) and the storm wave base (SWB). [1]

The fair weather wave base refers to the depth beneath the waves under normal conditions and the portion of the seafloor that is agitated by this everyday wave action is known as the Upper shoreface.

Upper Shoreface refers to the portion of the seafloor that is shallow enough to be agitated by everyday wave action, the wave base.

The storm wave base refers to the depths beneath storm-driven waves and can be much deeper. The portion of the seafloor that is only agitated by storm-driven wave action is known as the Lower shoreface.

Lower Shoreface refers to the portion of the seafloor, and the sedimentary depositional environment, that lies below the everyday wave base.

Note that another classification exists, which considers that the zone affected by both fair weather and storm waves is to be defined as shoreface, whereas Upper offshore is the name given to the zone only affected by storm waves and Lower offshore a zone not disturbed by any surface wave. (e.g. [3] )

### Types Of Wave Bases

fair weather base: it is a sea depth of 5 to 15m below sea level where the sea bed is unaffected by the action of waves in the calm wave conditions.

## Related Research Articles

The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean approximately 200 kilometres (124 mi) east of the Mariana Islands, and has the deepest natural trench in the world. It is a crescent-shaped trough in the Earth's crust averaging about 2,550 km (1,580 mi) long and 69 km (43 mi) wide. The maximum known depth is 10,994 metres (36,070 ft) at the southern end of a small slot-shaped valley in its floor known as the Challenger Deep. However, some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11,034 metres (36,201 ft). For comparison: if Mount Everest were dropped into the trench at this point, its peak would still be over two kilometres (1.2 mi) under water.

Oceanic trenches are topographic depressions of the sea floor, relatively narrow in width, but very long. These oceanographic features are the deepest parts of the ocean floor. Oceanic trenches are a distinctive morphological feature of convergent plate boundaries, along which lithospheric plates move towards each other at rates that vary from a few millimeters to over ten centimeters per year. A trench marks the position at which the flexed, subducting slab begins to descend beneath another lithospheric slab. Trenches are generally parallel to a volcanic island arc, and about 200 km (120 mi) from a volcanic arc. Oceanic trenches typically extend 3 to 4 km below the level of the surrounding oceanic floor. The greatest ocean depth measured is in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 11,034 m (36,201 ft) below sea level. Oceanic lithosphere moves into trenches at a global rate of about 3 km2/yr.

In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, a shoal is a natural submerged ridge, bank, or bar that consists of, or is covered by, sand or other unconsolidated material, and rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface. Often it refers to those submerged ridges, banks, or bars that rise near enough to the surface of a body of water as to constitute a danger to navigation. Shoals are also known as sandbanks, sandbars, or gravelbars. Two or more shoals that are either separated by shared troughs or interconnected by past or present sedimentary and hydrographic processes are referred to as a shoal complex.

In fluid dynamics, wind waves, or wind-generated waves, are surface waves that occur on the free surface of bodies of water. They result from the wind blowing over an area of fluid surface. Waves in the oceans can travel thousands of miles before reaching land. Wind waves on Earth range in size from small ripples, to waves over 100 ft (30 m) high.

The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean, lake, or stream, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Organisms living in this zone are called benthos and include microorganisms as well as larger invertebrates, such as crustaceans and polychaetes. Organisms here generally live in close relationship with the substrate and many are permanently attached to the bottom. The benthic boundary layer, which includes the bottom layer of water and the uppermost layer of sediment directly influenced by the overlying water, is an integral part of the benthic zone, as it greatly influences the biological activity that takes place there. Examples of contact soil layers include sand bottoms, rocky outcrops, coral, and bay mud.

A tension-leg platform (TLP) or extended tension leg platform (ETLP) is a vertically moored floating structure normally used for the offshore production of oil or gas, and is particularly suited for water depths greater than 300 metres and less than 1500 metres. Use of tension-leg platforms has also been proposed for wind turbines.

The seabed is the bottom of the ocean.

In fluid dynamics, a breaking wave is a wave whose amplitude reaches a critical level at which some process can suddenly start to occur that causes large amounts of wave energy to be transformed into turbulent kinetic energy. At this point, simple physical models that describe wave dynamics often become invalid, particularly those that assume linear behaviour.

In geology, depositional environment or sedimentary environment describes the combination of physical, chemical and biological processes associated with the deposition of a particular type of sediment and, therefore, the rock types that will be formed after lithification, if the sediment is preserved in the rock record. In most cases the environments associated with particular rock types or associations of rock types can be matched to existing analogues. However, the further back in geological time sediments were deposited, the more likely that direct modern analogues are not available.

Subsea is fully submerged ocean equipment, operations or applications, especially when some distance offshore, in deep ocean waters, or on the seabed. The term is frequently used in connection with oceanography, marine or ocean engineering, ocean exploration, remotely operated vehicle (ROVs) autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), submarine communications or power cables, seafloor mineral mining, oil and gas, and offshore wind power.

A jackup rig or a self-elevating unit is a type of mobile platform that consists of a buoyant hull fitted with a number of movable legs, capable of raising its hull over the surface of the sea. The buoyant hull enables transportation of the unit and all attached machinery to a desired location. Once on location the hull is raised to the required elevation above the sea surface supported by the sea bed. The legs of such units may be designed to penetrate the sea bed, may be fitted with enlarged sections or footings, or may be attached to a bottom mat. Generally jackup rigs are not self-propelled and rely on tugs or heavy lift ships for transportation.

Hummocky cross-stratification is a type of sedimentary structure found in sandstones. It is a form of cross-bedding usually formed by the action of large storms, such as hurricanes. It takes the form of a series of "smile"-like shapes, crosscutting each other. It is only formed at a depth of water below fair-weather wave base and above storm-weather wave base. They are not related to "hummocks" except in shape.

Ocean turbidity is a measure of the amount of cloudiness or haziness in sea water caused by individual particles that are too small to be seen without magnification. Highly turbid ocean waters are those with a large number of scattering particulates in them. In both highly absorbing and highly scattering waters, visibility into the water is reduced. The highly scattering (turbid) water still reflects a lot of light while the highly absorbing water, such as a blackwater river or lake, is very dark. The scattering particles that cause the water to be turbid can be composed of many things, including sediments and phytoplankton.

In fluid dynamics, Airy wave theory gives a linearised description of the propagation of gravity waves on the surface of a homogeneous fluid layer. The theory assumes that the fluid layer has a uniform mean depth, and that the fluid flow is inviscid, incompressible and irrotational. This theory was first published, in correct form, by George Biddell Airy in the 19th century.

A deep sea community is any community of organisms associated by a shared habitat in the deep sea. Deep sea communities remain largely unexplored, due to the technological and logistical challenges and expense involved in visiting this remote biome. Because of the unique challenges, it was long believed that little life existed in this hostile environment. Since the 19th century however, research has demonstrated that significant biodiversity exists in the deep sea.

A contourite is a sedimentary deposit commonly formed on continental rise to lower slope settings, although they may occur anywhere that is below storm wave base. Countourites are produced by thermohaline-induced deepwater bottom currents and may be influenced by wind or tidal forces. The geomorphology of contourite deposits is mainly influenced by the deepwater bottom-current velocity, sediment supply, and seafloor topography.

Offshore geotechnical engineering is a sub-field of geotechnical engineering. It is concerned with foundation design, construction, maintenance and decommissioning for human-made structures in the sea. Oil platforms, artificial islands and submarine pipelines are examples of such structures. The seabed has to be able to withstand the weight of these structures and the applied loads. Geohazards must also be taken into account. The need for offshore developments stems from a gradual depletion of hydrocarbon reserves onshore or near the coastlines, as new fields are being developed at greater distances offshore and in deeper water, with a corresponding adaptation of the offshore site investigations. Today, there are more than 7,000 offshore platforms operating at a water depth up to and exceeding 2000 m. A typical field development extends over tens of square kilometers, and may comprise several fixed structures, infield flowlines with an export pipeline either to the shoreline or connected to a regional trunkline.

## References

1. R. G. Dean & R. A. Dalrymple (1991). Water wave mechanics for engineers and scientists. Advanced Series on Ocean Engineering. 2. World Scientific, Singapore. ISBN   978-981-02-0420-4.
2. At a depth of half the wave length, the amplitude of the water particle motion by the waves has been reduced to e−π ≈ 0.04 times it value at the water surface.
3. Bayetgoll et al., 2015, Ichnology and sedimentology of a shallow marine Upper Cretaceous depositional system (Neyzar Formation, Kopet-Dagh, Iran): Palaeoceanographic influence on ichnodiversity, Cretaceous Research, 56, 628-646