The continental margin is a region of the ocean floor that lies between the shoreline and the deep-ocean floor. It includes the continental shelf, the continental slope, and the continental rise – the gently sloping region of the continental margin at the foot of the continental slope (an area of thick deposits of sediments carried down by currents off the continental shelf.
A continental shelf can be quite narrow, as, for example of the west coast of South America, but in places can be more than 150km (90 miles) wide – for example, in the North Sea and around Britain. The shallows contain rich food for fish, and therefore some of the world's major fishing grounds are on continental shelves. Other areas of continental shelf, such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico have been exploited for oil and natural gas.
Related categories• GEOGRAPHY
• GEOLOGY AND PLANETARY SCIENCE
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