Atlantic-Type Continental Margins

  • Bruce C. Heezen


Continental margins can be characterized as of “Atlantic” or “Pacific” type, essentially depending on whether they have experienced a relatively long period of stability, in which case they are called Atlantic type, or whether they have suffered active tectonism during latter geological times, in which case they are assigned to the Pacific type. We are concerned in this chapter with the Atlantic-type continental margins which bound the Arctic and Norwegian seas, the North and South Atlantic oceans, and all of the Indian Ocean (with the exception of the Sunda Arc), and all which circles Antarctica (with the exception of the Scotia Arc). Parts of the marginal basins of the Pacific can also be considered to be Atlantic type; for example, the continental margin of Alaska in the Bering Sea, the Siberian continental margin in the Okhotsk Sea, the Asian continental margin in the Japan Sea, and the Southeast Asian continental margin in the South China Sea. Parts of the Mediterranean margin might also be considered to be Atlantic type. Atlantic-type continental margins have been studied most extensively in the North Atlantic, but a significant assemblage of data provides insight into the structure of the continental margin of west Africa, Argentina, and Kenya.


Continental Shelf Continental Margin Continental Slope Turbidity Current Abyssal Plain 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1974

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  • Bruce C. Heezen

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