abyssal plain


abyssal plain

noun

Definition of ABYSSAL PLAIN

:  any of the great flat sediment-covered areas of ocean floor — see continental shelf illustration

First Known Use of ABYSSAL PLAIN

1954

abyssal plain

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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.

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