Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

5.6: Submarine Canyons

  • Page ID
    9894
    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
    • Sourced from Miracosta)

    Submarine canyons are similar to river gorges carved in mountainous regions on land, however they tend to be both much larger and deeper. Characteristics of submarine canyons include:

    • They generally form perpendicular to coastline.
    • They are commonly associated with zones of weakness such as a fault or a drowned river valley (canyons flooded by sea level rise).
    • They start on continental shelf and cut into (erode) shelf and upper slope, commonly near the mouth of a bay or river.
    • They are carved by undersea erosion processes associated with turbidity currents. Turbidity currents transport sediment into deep ocean basins via submarine canyons.
    • Turbidity currents moving down submarine canyons eventually slow down and deposit sediments on the continental rise as deep-sea fans.

    Hudson Canyon
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Hudson Canyon offshore of New York City