A submerged border of a continent that slopes gradually and extends to a point of steeper descent to the ocean bottom.
A submerged shelf of land that begins at a continental shoreline, slopes downward gradually at an angle of about 0.1° for a variable distance, and ends at the top of a much steeper downward slope (continental slope) at an angle of about 3° to 6° until it reaches the ocean floor: at the outer edge of the shelf the depth of the ocean is usually between about 90 m (300 ft) and 180 m (600 ft)
The part of the edge of a continent between the shoreline and the continental slope. It is covered by shallow ocean waters and has a very gentle slope.
The continental plateau might for purposes of detailed study be divided into the continental shelf from - 660 ft.
Amongst the best known of the furrows of the continental shelf are the Cape Breton Deep, in the Bay of Biscay, the Hudson Furrow, southward of New York, the so-called Congo Canon, the Swatch of No Ground off the Ganges delta, the Bottomless Pit off the Niger delta, and numerous similar furrows on the west coast of North America and outside the fjords of Norway, Iceland and the west of Scotland, as well as in the.
The seaward edge of the continental shelf often falls steeply to the greatest depths of the ocean, and not infrequently forms the slope of a trench, a form of depression which has usually a steep slope towards a continent or an island-bearing rise on one side and a gentler slope towards the general level of the ocean on the other.
The littoral deposits include those of the actual shore on the wash of the waves and of the surface of the continental shelf.
Recent limestones are being produced in this way and also in some places by the precipitation of calcium carbonate by sodium or ammonium carbonate which has been carried into the sea or formed by organisms. The precipitated carbonate may agglomerate on mineral or organic grains which serve as nuclei, or it may form a sheet of hard deposit on the bottom as occurs in the Red Sea, off Florida, and round many coral islands in the Pacific. Only the sand and the finest-grained sediments of the shore zone are carried outwards over the continental shelf by the tides or by the reaction-currents along the bottom set up by on-shore winds.