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Heads of submarine canyons may occur anywhere on continental margins, from river mouths to continental slopes, producing a distinctive interface between shallow- and deep-marine environments. Inception of most canyons is subaerial, fluvially cut during lowered sealevel. Submarine mass flow also commences canyon formation. Submarine erosion shapes all canyons, and is especially effective in the headward region. Sliding and slumping are volumetrically most important as erosive agents, but sand spillover, bioerosion, sand flow, sand creep, and debris flow all play a part. Fluctuating channelized currents and low-velocity turbidity currents also erode and transport sediments.

Canyons alter shelfbreak circulation and sedimentation....

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