continental shelf

noun

Definition of continental shelf

: a shallow submarine plain of varying width forming a border to a continent and typically ending in a comparatively steep slope to the deep ocean floor

Illustration of continental shelf

Illustration of continental shelf

continental shelf: 1 seashore, 2 continental shelf, 3 continental slope, 4 abyssal plain, 5 seamount

Examples of continental shelf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Louisiana State University scientists predict that 8,717 square miles of bad water will be at the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas, making it about the same size as the state of New Jersey. Jen Christensen, CNN, "The Gulf could see one of the largest dead zones in history this year," 10 June 2019 But the continental shelf off the coast of the Pacific plunges quickly and steeply. Rob Nikolewski, latimes.com, "Offshore wind farms are planned for California — but the Navy says no to large sections of the coast," 8 May 2018 Such purchases are nearly entirely paid for by a portion of the money the government collects from oil and natural gas leasing on the outer continental shelf. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: How a conservation fund helped sink Trump's budget-trimming efforts," 25 June 2018 The glider will travel 130 miles from Atlantic City to the edge of the underwater continental shelf and back. Eric Niiler, National Geographic, "The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means," 15 June 2018 But the continental shelf off the coast of the Pacific plunges quickly and steeply. Rob Nikolewski, latimes.com, "Offshore wind farms are planned for California — but the Navy says no to large sections of the coast," 8 May 2018 But the continental shelf off the coast of the Pacific plunges quickly and steeply. Rob Nikolewski, latimes.com, "Offshore wind farms are planned for California — but the Navy says no to large sections of the coast," 8 May 2018 The study looked at the North American continental shelves on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Hundreds of fish species will be forced to shift north due to climate change, study says," 16 May 2018 But the continental shelf off the coast of the Pacific plunges quickly and steeply. Rob Nikolewski, latimes.com, "Offshore wind farms are planned for California — but the Navy says no to large sections of the coast," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continental shelf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of continental shelf

1892, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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The first known use of continental shelf was in 1892

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More Definitions for continental shelf

continental shelf

noun

English Language Learners Definition of continental shelf

technical : the part of a continent that lies under the ocean and slopes down to the ocean floor

More from Merriam-Webster on continental shelf

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about continental shelf

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