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5.4: Continental Slope

  • Page ID
    9892
    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
    • Sourced from Miracosta)

    Continental Slope

    A continental slope is the slope between the outer edge of the continental shelf and the deep ocean floor. The continental slope is cut by submarine canyons in many locations. The continental slope marks the seaward edge of the continental shelf.

    Continental slopes typically follow the boundary between continental crust and oceanic crust.
    Continental slope range in steepness from 1 to 25 degrees, average is 4 degrees.
    • Pacific (active margin) average >5 degrees.
    • Atlantic (passive margin) average about 3 degrees

    Continental slopes are cut by submarine canyons. The dominant process influencing slopes are sediment deposition and erosion by turbidity currents (discussed below).

    Continental Slope with submarine canyons near Virginia's coast.Figure 5.5. The continental slope off the coast of Virginia is cut by numerous submarine canyons that drain sediments to the continental rise at the base of the slope.