5.6: Submarine Canyons
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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.