Part I.—Continental Shelf and Slope of the Northeastern United States
One might gain the impression from some of the beautifully engraved bathymetric charts produced in past years that the factual basis for our knowledge of the ocean floor is quite complete. On the contrary, practically no part of the oceans of the world is sounded with such intensive development as that of the American Continental Shelf and Slope, and, although in places even this comparatively close development leaves much to be desired in some instances, it is now for the first time possible to make a regional study of a section of the continental border, with complete and accurate data available over a length of 600 miles and from the shore seaward more than 100 miles.
The Atlantic Continental Slope Charts accompanying this volume have been exhibited at scientific meetings in various stages of completion. The topography of the slope, showing definite stream erosion forms, is quite different from that of the shelf showing the forms made by marine erosion; and the stream erosion forms on the slope have aroused a lively discussion as to their origin, as well as to the character of the basic data. So far as is known this is the first attempt to publish such a large number of soundings in substantiation of the contours based upon them, but the existing state of knowledge, not only of the ocean bottom in general, but also of the methods used in marine surveying and contouring, make it essential at this time to show all the data.