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The Deep Sea Drilling Project has been largely responsible for the development of a new field of earth sciences--paleo-oceanography. Documentation of the sedimentary and fossil record from the ocean basins during the past decade has vastly increased knowledge of the factual basis for oceanic sedimentology and paleobiogeography. The wealth of new data provides the basis for much innovative research to define and describe the processes important in paleo-oceanography. It has become evident that the ocean system is not in a steady state, but that supply of materials to the ocean and output as sediment are affected by processes both exterior to and interior to the ocean system, operating on a variety of time scales. Furthermore, it has become apparent that processes in the in erior of the earth (the driving forces for plate tectonics), affect erosion processes operating to denude the continents, both directly through mountain building and indirectly by causing sea-level and climatic changes. Sea-level changes affect the distribution of materials between the continental shelves and the deep sea; climatic changes operate through feedback mechanisms with the ocean to affect the interior processes and outputs of sediment to the seafloor. Understanding these complex interrelations is the goal of the new field of paleo-oceanography.
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