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Flat seafloor area at a depth of 10,000–20,000 ft (3,000–6,000 m), generally adjacent to a continent. The larger plains are hundreds of miles wide and thousands of miles long. The plains are largest and most common in the Atlantic Ocean, less common in the Indian Ocean, and even rarer in the Pacific Ocean, where they occur mainly as small, flat floors of marginal seas or as long, narrow bottoms of trenches. They are thought to be the upper surfaces of land-derived sediment that accumulates in abyssal depressions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on abyssal plain, visit Britannica.com.