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List of submarine topographical features

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Title: List of submarine topographical features  
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Subject: Oceanography, Abyssal plains, Physical oceanography, Oceanic trench, Plate tectonics
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List of submarine topographical features

Depiction of the abyssal zone in relation to other major oceanic zones.

List of submarine topographical features, oceanic landforms and topographic elements.

Abyssal plain

An abyssal plain is an underwater plain on the deep ocean floor, usually found at depths between 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) and 6,000 meters (20,000 ft). Lying generally between the foot of a continental rise and a mid-ocean ridge, abyssal plains are among the flattest, smoothest and least explored regions on Earth.[1] Abyssal plains are key geologic elements of oceanic basins (the other elements being an elevated mid-ocean ridge and flanking abyssal hills). In addition to these elements, active oceanic basins (those that are associated with a moving plate tectonic boundary) also typically include an oceanic trench and a subduction zone. Though they cover more than 50% of the Earth’s surface,[2][3] they are poorly preserved in the sedimentary record because they tend to be consumed by the subduction process.[1]

The abyssal plain is formed when the lower oceanic crust is melted and forced upwards by the asthenosphere layer of the upper mantle. As this basaltic material reaches the surface at mid-ocean ridges, it forms new oceanic crust. Abyssal plains result from the blanketing of an originally uneven surface of oceanic crust by fine-grained sediments, mainly clay and silt. Much of this sediment is deposited from turbidity currents that have been channeled from the continental margins along submarine canyons down into deeper water. The remainder of the sediment is composed chiefly of pelagic sediments.

Use of a continuously recording fathometer enabled Tolstoy & Ewing in the summer of 1947 to identify and describe the first abyssal plain.[1][4] This plain, located to the south of Newfoundland, is now known as the Sohm Abyssal Plain.[4] Following this discovery many other examples were found in all the oceans.[5][6][7][8][9]

List of abyssal plains and oceanic basins

Following is a list of named abyssal plains and oceanic basins:[1][10][11]
Name Alternate name Ocean Coordinates [10]
Adriatic Abyssal Plain (Adriatic Basin) Mediterranean Sea
Agulhas Bank[12] (Agulhas Basin) South Atlantic Ocean
Alaska Plain (Alaskan Abyssal Plain, Alaskan Plain) North Pacific Ocean
Alborán Plain (Alboran Abyssal Plain) Alboran Sea (Mediterranean Sea)
Aleutian Basin (Aleutskaya Kotlovina, Bering Abyssal Plain, Bering Basin, Bering Sea Basin) North Pacific Ocean
Amerasian Basin (Central Polar Basin; consists of the Canada Basin and the Makarov Basin)
Amundsen Basin (Amundsen Basin) Arctic Ocean
Amundsen Plain (Amundsen Abyssal Plain) Southern Ocean
Angola Plain[13][14][15][16] (Angola Abyssal Plain, Angola Basin) South Atlantic Ocean
Argentine Abyssal Plain (Argentine Plain, Argentine Basin) South Atlantic Ocean
Balearic Abyssal Plain Mediterranean Sea
Barracuda Plain (Barracuda Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Bauer Basin
Bellingshausen Plain (Bellingshausen Abyssal Plain) Southern Ocean
Biscay Plain[17] (Biscay Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Blake Basin (Blake Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Boreas Plain (Boreas Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Burdwood Abyssal Plain South Atlantic Ocean
Canada Plain[18] (Canada Abyssal Plain, Canada Basin, Canada Deep, Canadian Plain, Kanadskaya Abissal'naya Ravnina Kanadskaya). One of two sub-basins of the Amerasian Basin. Arctic Ocean
Canary Basin
Cape Plain[13] (Cape Abyssal Plain, Cape Basin) South Atlantic Ocean
Cape Verde Plain[19] (Cape Verde Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Cascadia Plain (Cascadia Abyssal Plain, Cascadia Basin, Bassin Cascadia, Great Trough) North Pacific Ocean
Ceará Plain (Brazil Basin, Ceara Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Central Pacific Basin
Ceylon Plain (Ceylon Abyssal Plain) Indian Ocean
Chile Basin
Chukchi Plain[18] (Chukchi Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Cocos Abyssal Plain (Cocos Basin) Indian Ocean
Colombian Plain (Colombia Abyssal Plain, Colombian Abyssal Plain) Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Comoro Plain (Comores Abyssal Plain) Mozambique Channel (Indian Ocean)
Cuvier Plain (Cuvier Abyssal Plain) Indian Ocean
Demerara Plain (Demerara Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Dumshaf Plain (Dumshaf Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Enderby Plain[20][21] (Enderby Abyssal Plain, East Abyssal Plain) Southern Ocean
Eratosthenes Abyssal Plain[22][23] (Eratosthenes Seamount) Mediterranean Sea
Eurasian Basin (Norway Abyssal Plain, Norwegian Basin; consists of the Amundsen Basin and the Nansen Basin) Arctic Ocean
Euxine Abyssal Plain[24][25][26] Black Sea
Fernando de Noronha Plain (Fernando de Noronha Abyssal Plain, Planicie Abissal de Fernando de Noronha) South Atlantic Ocean
Ferradura Plain (Ferradura Abyssal Plain, Planicie Abissal da Ferradura) North Atlantic Ocean
Fletcher Plain (Abissal’naya Ravnina Fletchera) Arctic Ocean
Florida Plain (Florida Abyssal Plain) Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean)
Fram Basin[18] (Barents Abyssal Plain, Barents Plain) One of two sub-basins of the Eurasian Basin. Arctic Ocean
Gambia Plain (Gambia Abyssal Plain, Gambia Basin) North Atlantic Ocean
Gascoyne Plain (Exmouth Abyssal Plain, Gascogne Plain, Gascoyne Abyssal Plain) Indian Ocean
Greenland Plain (Greenland Abyssal Plain, Iceland Basin, Plaine du Groenland) Arctic Ocean
Grenada Abyssal Plain Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Guiana Basin
Guinea Plain[13] (Guinea Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Hatteras Plain (Hatteras Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Herodotus Basin (Herodotus Abyssal Plain, Herodotus Plain) Libyan Sea (Mediterranean Sea)
Hellenic Trench (Metapan Deep System) Ionian Sea
Hispaniola Plain (Hispaniola Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Horseshoe Plain (Horseshoe Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Iberian Plain[27][28] (Iberia Abyssal Plain, Iberian Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Jamaican Abyssal Plain Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Japan Plain (Japan Abyssal Plain) Sea of Japan (Pacific Ocean)
Labrador Basin (Newfoundland Basin)
Laurentian Abyss North Atlantic Ocean
Madeira Plain (Madeira Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Makarov Basin one of two sub-basins of the Amerasian Basin. Arctic Ocean
Mascarene Plain[29] (Madagascar Basin, Malagasy Abyssal Plain, Seychelles-Mauritius Plateau) Indian Ocean
Melanesian Basin
Mendeleyev Plain[18] (Mendeleyev Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Mid Indian Abyssal Plain (Mid-Indian Basin) Indian Ocean
Mornington Abyssal Plain South Pacific Ocean
Namibia Abyssal Plain South Atlantic Ocean
Nansen Basin One of two sub-basins of the Eurasian Basin. Arctic Ocean
Nares Plain (Fosse Nares, Nares Abyssal Plain, Nares Deep, Nares Tiefe) North Atlantic Ocean
Natal Basin
North Australian Basin (Argo Abyssal Plain, Bassin Nord de l' Australie, Severo-Avstralijskaja Kot) Indian Ocean
North Polar Basin (consists of the Amerasian Basin and the Eurasian Basin)
Northwest Pacific Basin
Northwind Plain USCGC Northwind (WAGB-282) (Northwind Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Okhotsk Abyssal Plain Sea of Okhotsk (western Pacific Ocean)
Oman Plain (Arabian Basin, Oman Abyssal Plain) Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean)
Panama Plain (Clark Abyssal Plain) Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Papua Plain (Papua Abyssal Plain) South Pacific Ocean
Para Abyssal Plain North Atlantic Ocean
Penrhyn Basin
Pernambuco Plain (Pernambuco Abyssal Plain) South Atlantic Ocean
Perth Plain[30] (Perth Abyssal Plain, Perth Basin, West Australian Basin) Indian Ocean
Peru Basin
Pole Plain (Central Polar Basin, Pole Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Porcupine Abyssal Plain[31][32] (Porcupine Plain, West European Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Raukumara Abyssal Plain South Pacific Ocean
Rhodes Basin (Rhodes Abyssal Plain, Ró2dhos Basin) Sea of Crete (Mediterranean Sea)
Roggeveen Basin
Sardino-Balearic Plain (Algerian Plain, Balearic Abyssal Plain, Balearic Plain, Sardino-Balearic Abyssal Plain) Mediterranean Sea
Seine Plain (Seine Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Siberian Abyssal Plain[18] Arctic Ocean
Sicilia Plain (Messina Abyssal Plain, Sicily Plain) Mediterranean Sea
Sierra Leone Plain (Sierra Leone Abyssal Plain, Sierra Leone Basin) North Atlantic Ocean
Sigsbee Deep (Mexico Basin, Sigsbee Abyssal Plain, Sigsbee Deep, Sigsbee Basin) Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean)
Silver Plain (Silver Abyssal Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Sirte Basin[33] (Ionian Abyssal Plain, Sidra Abyssal Plain, Sidra Plain, Sirte Abyssal Plain, Surt Plain) Libyan Sea (Mediterranean Sea)
Sohm Abyssal Plain[4] (Fosse de Suhm, Plaine Sohm, Sohm Deep, Sohm Plain, Suhm Abyssal Plain, Suhm Deep, Suhm Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Somali Plain (Somali Abyssal Plain, Somali Basin) Indian Ocean
South Australian Plain (Eyre Abyssal Plain, Great Bight Abyssal Plain, South Australian Abyssal Plain) Indian Ocean
South China Basin (South China Sea Abyssal Plain) South China Sea (Pacific Ocean)
South East Pacific Basin
South Fiji Basin
South Indian Plain (South Indian Abyssal Plain, South Indian Basin, South Indian Ocean Plain) Southern Ocean
South West Pacific Abyssal Plain[34][35][36] (South West Pacific Basin) South Pacific Ocean
Tagus Abyssal Plain (Tagus Plain) North Atlantic Ocean
Tasman Plain (Tasman Abyssal Plain, Tasman Apron, Tasman Basin) Tasman Sea (South Pacific Ocean)
Town Abyssal Plain South Atlantic Ocean
Tsushima Basin (Ulleung Basin) Korea Strait (Sea of Japan, Pacific Ocean)
Tufts Plain (Tufts Abyssal Plain) North Pacific Ocean
Tyrrhenian Plain (Tyrrhenian Abyssal Plain) Tyrrhenian Sea (Mediterranean Sea)
Valdivia Abyssal Plain Southern Ocean
Venezuelan Plain (Venezuela Abyssal Plain) Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)
Vidal Abyssal Plain North Atlantic Ocean
Weddell Plain[37] (Weddell Abyssal Plain) Southern Ocean
Wrangellia Terrane[18][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45] (Wrangel Abyssal Plain) Arctic Ocean
Yamato Basin Sea of Japan (Pacific Ocean)
Yucatan Abyssal Plain (Guatemala Basin) Caribbean Sea (Atlantic Ocean)

Oceanic trenches

Oceanic trenches are long, narrow topographic depressions of the seabed. They are the deepest parts of the ocean floor, and they define one of the most important natural boundaries on the Earth's solid surface: the one between two lithospheric plates. Trenches are a distinctive morphological feature of plate boundaries.

There are three types of lithospheric plate boundaries: 1.) divergent (where lithosphere and oceanic crust is created at mid-ocean ridges), 2.) convergent (where one lithospheric plate sinks beneath another and returns to the mantle), and 3.) transform (where two lithospheric plates slide past each other).

An oceanic trench is a type of convergent boundary at which two oceanic lithospheric slabs meet; the older (and therefore denser) of these slabs flexes and subducts beneath the other slab. Oceanic lithosphere moves into trenches at a global rate of about a tenth of a square meter per second. Trenches are generally parallel to a volcanic island arc, and about 200 km from a volcanic arc. Oceanic trenches typically extend 3 to 4 km (1.9 to 2.5 mi) below the level of the surrounding oceanic floor. The greatest ocean depth to be sounded is in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench, at a depth of 10,911 m (35,798 ft) below sea level.

List of oceanic trenches

Location of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench
The following is a list of the deepest parts of the Earth's oceans and seas (all depths are measured from sea level):
Name Location Depth (meters) Depth (feet) Depth (miles)
1 Challenger Deep Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc, Mariana Trench, Pacific Ocean 11,033 36,197 6.86
2 Tonga Trench Pacific Ocean 10,882 35,702 6.76
3 Galathea Depth Philippine Trench, Pacific Ocean 10,540 34,580 6.54
4 Kuril-Kamchatka Trench Pacific Ocean 10,500 34,449 6.52
5 Kermadec Trench Pacific Ocean 10,047 32,963 6.24
6 Izu-Ogasawara Trench Pacific Ocean 9,780 32,087 6.08
7 Japan Trench Pacific Ocean 9,000 29,527 5.59
8 Puerto Rico Trench Atlantic Ocean 8,605 28,232 5.35
9 Yap Trench Pacific Ocean 8,527 27,976 5.30
10 South Sandwich Trench Atlantic Ocean 8,428 27,651 5.24
11 Richards Deep Peru-Chile Trench, Pacific Ocean 8,065 26,456 5.01
12 Diamantina Deep Diamantina Fracture Zone, Indian Ocean 8,047 26,401 5.00
13 Romanche Trench Atlantic Ocean 7,760 25,460 4.82
14 Cayman Trough Caribbean Sea 7,686 25,238 4.78
15 Aleutian Trench Pacific Ocean 7,679 25,194 4.77
16 Java Trench Indian Ocean 7,455 24,460 4.63
17 Middle America Trench Pacific Ocean 6,669 21,880 4.14
18 Puysegur Trench Pacific Ocean 6,300 20,700 3.9
19 Vityaz Trench Pacific Ocean 6,150 20,177 3.8
20 Litke Deep Eurasian Basin*, Arctic Ocean 5,450 17,881 3.39
21 Manila Trench South China Sea 5,400 17,700 3.36
22 Calypso Deep Hellenic Trench, Mediterranean Sea 5,267 17,280 3.27
23 Ryukyu Trench Pacific Ocean 5,212 17,100 3.24
24 Murray Canyon* Southern Ocean, Australia 5,000 16,400 3.1
  • Entries marked with * are the deepest parts of their respective water bodies, but are not oceanic trenches.

Oceanic plateau

An oceanic plateau is a large, relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed.[46] While many oceanic plateaus are composed of continental crust, and often form a step interrupting the continental slope, some plateaus are undersea remnants of large igneous provinces. Continental crust has the highest amount of silicon (such rock is called felsic). Oceanic crust has a smaller amount of silicon (mafic rock).

The anomalous shale deposition, anoxia and mass extinction in the ocean basins.[47]

List of oceanic plateaus

Mid-ocean ridges

A mid-ocean ridge is a general term for an underwater mountain system that consists of various mountain ranges (chains), typically having a valley known as a rift running along its spine, formed by plate tectonics. This type of oceanic ridge is characteristic of what is known as an oceanic spreading center, which is responsible for seafloor spreading.

List of mid-ocean ridges

See also


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Further reading

  • Böggemann M. & Purschke G. (2005). "Abyssal benthic Syllidae (Annelida: Polychaeta) from the Angola Basin". Organisms, Diversity & Evolution 5 (Supplement 1): 221–226.  
  • Gooday A.J., Nomaki H., & Kitazato H. (2008). "Modern deep-sea benthic foraminifera: a brief review of their morphology-based biodiversity and trophic diversity". Geological Society (Special Publications 303): 97–119. 
  • Markhaseva E.L. & Schulz K. (2006). "Sensiava longiseta (Copepoda, calanoidea): a new genus and species from the abyssal of the Weddell Sea". Zootaxa (1368): 1–18. 
  • Mühlenhardt-Siegel U. (2008). "Phalloleucon abyssalis, a new cumacean genus and species (Crustacea: Peracarida: Leuconidae) from the Peru Basin". Zootaxa (1829). pp. 61–68. 
  • Seifried S., Plum Ch. & Schulz M. (2007). "A new species of Parabradya Lang, 1944 (Copepoda: Harpacticoida: Ectinosomatidae) from the abyssal plain of the Angola Basin". Zootaxa (1432): 1–21. 

External links

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (3 November 2009). "Deep-sea Ecosystems Affected By Climate Change". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
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