Ultralow frequency (0.02-2 Hz) acoustic ambient noise was monitored from January to April 1991 at six ocean bottom stations off the eastern U.S. coast. The depths of the stations ranged from about 100 m to 2500 m. The measured spectra are in good agreement with predictions made using Cato's theory [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 89, 1076-1095 (1991)] for noise generation by surface-wave orbital motion after extending the calculations to incorporate horizontally stratified environments. Contributions from both the linear, single-frequency (virtual monopole) and the nonlinear, double-frequency (dipole) mechanisms are clearly recognizable in the data. The predictions make use of directional wave data obtained from surface buoys deployed during the SWADE experiment and an ocean bottom model derived from compressional wave speed data measured during the EDGE deep seismic reflection survey. The results demonstrate conclusively that nonlinear surface-wave interactions are the dominant mechanism for generating deep-ocean ULF noise in the band 0.2-0.7 Hz.