The ocean floor. Photo courtesy of dimsis/Flickr.

The seafloor can be divided into different levels extending from the edges of the continents to the deep ocean floor:

Continental Shelf
The continental shelf extends seaward from the shore and is the shallowest part of the continental margin.

Continental Slope
The continental slope is the area of the seafloor just beyond the continental shelf, where the slope of the seafloor becomes steeper.

Continental Rise
The continental rise extends beyond the steep continental slope. It is more gently sloping and is composed of the sediments deposited by turbidity currents at the base of the continental slope.

Abyssal Plains
Flat plains on the deep ocean floor.

Deep Ocean Trenches
Deepest parts of the ocean floor.

Mid-Ocean Ridges
Underwater mountain ranges found on the ocean floor.
Last modified: Thursday, 3 February 2011, 1:29 PM