The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.
- Many earth materials and geochemical cycles originate in the ocean.Many of the sedimentary rocks now exposed on land were formed in the ocean. Ocean life laid down the vast volume of siliceous and carbonate rocks.
- Sea level changes over time have expanded and contracted continental shelves, created and destroyed inland seas, and shaped the surface of land.
- Erosion—the wearing away of rock, soil and other biotic and abiotic earth materials—occurs in coastal areas as wind, waves, and currents in rivers and the ocean move sediments.
- Sand consists of tiny bits of animals, plants, rocks and minerals. Most beach sand is eroded from land sources and carried to the coast by rivers, but sand is also eroded from coastal sources by surf. Sand is redistributed by waves and coastal currents seasonally.
- Tectonic activity, sea level changes, and force of waves influence the physical structure and landforms of the coast.