abyssal plain


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

Examples of abyssal plain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This abyssal plain sprawls over 2.3 million square miles, over half the size of the contiguous U.S., and plunges to depths exceeding 3 miles in some places. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 12 Dec. 2023 The metallic nodules on the abyssal plains that miners want to hoover up form over millions of years in a remote part of the planet where fine sediment filters down at a rate of about a centimeter every millennium. Susan Lahey, Popular Mechanics, 24 July 2023 The abyssal plains are strewn with mineral nodules that coalesce around biotic seeds such as sharks' teeth, accumulating cobalt and other metals integral to lithium-ion batteries. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 20 June 2023 The abyssal plain is a term used to describe the ocean floor at a water depth of 3,000 to 4,000 meters (around 12,000 feet), which makes up 60% of Earth’s surface, according to Roberts. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 7 Nov. 2022 The team had discovered an undersea volcano, or seamount, on an abyssal plain—a geologically inactive region that shouldn’t have any. Akila Raghavan, Science | AAAS, 15 July 2021 Drazen is one of a select few scientists who have explored the abyssal plain ecosystem of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), where the majority of the ISA’s undersea mining contracts are located. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 May 2020 Now, seamounts have caught the eye of people interested in using sophisticated machines to mine deep-sea habitats, including hydrothermal vents and abyssal plains, that hold precious minerals. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, 12 Sep. 2019 Companies hoping to extract those metals from the seabed are focusing first on abyssal plains. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, 12 Sep. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abyssal plain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abyssal plain was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near abyssal plain

Cite this Entry

“Abyssal plain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abyssal%20plain. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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