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Book Chapter

Submarine Topography in the North Atlantic

By
Ivan Tolstoy
Ivan Tolstoy
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Published:
January 01, 1976

Abstract

In the North Atlantic one may distinguish Several types of topography, each of which'is characteristic of certain portions of the ocean floor.

The continental slopes are now known to show in many cajpes a steplike succession ofliorizontal or im-perceptibly sloping shelves or terraces. They are dissected by systems of submarine canyons, the pattern of which is such as to suggest to many a subaerial origin. A recent investigation of the Hudson submarine valley by the ATLANTIS has shown that this valley extends at least as far as the 2500 fathom curve, 300 miles out to sea, and shows features suggesting a subaerial origin.

The broad basins are chkracterized by smooth floors or plains covering areas ofrmore than 200,000 square miles qut of which there rise large sea mounts, isolated or in groups. Thus plains at a-depth of 2900 fathoms occupy,the floors of the North American and the North Canary basins.

The floor of the northwestern part of the North American basin, north of Bermuda, is characterized by a plain at 2650 fathoms. Sea mounts of various bizes and shapes rise out of these otherwise smooth plains. There is a conspicuous group of flat-topped sea mounts rising from the 2650-fathom plain of the western North American basin. They rise approximately to 800 fathoms and string out toward thk southeast, roughly from the direction of Cape Cod. They show evidence of terracing on their flanks.

The central part of the Atlantic Ocean is characterised by along submarine mountain range. Extending from Iceland to a point southwest of the Cape of Good Hope, known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Numerous fathograms across the Ridge have shown that it is characterized by a high central zone, or Main Range, consisting of parallel ridges following the general trend of the Ridge and rising'in many places-to less than 800 fathoms below the Surface pf the ocean.

Between 1600 and 2500 fathoms the flanks of the Ridge are characterized by a succession of flats which for the lack of any better tprm have been called terraces. Rtflection-shgoting studies by Ewing and Press and others .have shown that these terraces are or have been areas of greater deposition.

Finally, between this Terraced Zone and the 2900-fathom plain, one ftiay usually recognize a mountainous area standing out as a distinct physiographic province.

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GSA Microform Publications

Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Peter A. Rona
Peter A. Rona
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories 15 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, Florida 33149
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Geological Society of America
Volume
5
ISBN electronic:
9780813759050
Publication date:
January 01, 1976

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