Continental Slope

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continental slope

[¦känt·ən¦ent·əl ′slōp]
The part of the continental margin consisting of the declivity from the edge of the continental shelf extending down to the continental rise.

Continental Slope


one of the principal elements of the continental margin; it is located between the shelf and the continental rise. The continental slope has a steeper gradient than do the shelf and the ocean floor (an average of about 4°, but often 15°-20° and as much as 40°) and very rugged relief. Typical forms of rugged relief are terraces parallel to the lip and base of the slope and transverse hollows, or submarine canyons that usually begin on the shelf and extend to the base of the slope or the continental rise.

Through seismic research, dredging, and deep-water drilling it has been established that in terms of geological structure the continental slope is a direct continuation of the structures developed in adjacent areas of the continent. Because of the steepness of its surface the processes taking place in the upper part of the continental slope result in the movement of large masses of sedimentary material that take the form of subaqueous slumping and turbidity currents. Accumulation processes are more typical for the lower part of the continental slope. The types of deposits on the continental slopes include terrigenous sediments that are usually of silt composition, carbonaceous biogenic silts in the warm seas, and iceberg deposits and diatomaceous silts in the antarctic zone of the world ocean. The continental slope is a zone that is highly productive of organic matter and is singled out as a special bathyal zone.


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coastal State first establish the foot of its continental slope.
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The continental slope of the eastern Bering Sea is a region of high skate species richness and diversity, and skates are encountered in nearly every haul.
Similarly, limited sampling effort on the continental slope of the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska have precluded us from demonstrating a similar pattern in other regions of the eastern North Pacific.
trachura, have occasionally been collected in the archipelago, and therefore the skate fauna on the continental slope of the Aleutian Islands is probably similar to that of the eastern Bering Sea slope.
The arrowhead gulper shark is a poorly known deepwater species, widely distributed in bottom waters of the upper continental slopes worldwide.
It is a benthic dweller on the continental slopes of Britain and New England.
The continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico is characterized by low depth gradients, whereas the continental slope has high depth gradients and the abyssal plains of the deep Gulf have low depth gradients.
Along the steep upper continental slope of the Florida Escarpment between Tampa and Key West, very high relative abundances of Risso's dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, and sperm whales were observed.
Results of a 1988 trawl survey of groundfish resources of the upper continental slope off Oregon.
1984 spring and autumn surveys of Pacific West Coast upper continental slope groundfish resources.

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