Ocean Floor Profile
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The ocean floor profile begins where the water meets the land at the shore line. The shore line is very unstable in that it changes with each coming wave and the changes with the tides. The continental shelf extends out from the shore line may be a few hundred feet to two hundred miles in width depending on the continent. The continental shelf extends out until it reaches around six hundred feet in depth, at which point light usually completely fades out depending on the water clarity. The continental slope is a rapid steep slope which slopes towards the ocean floor. The slope is often marked with underwater canyons, cliffs and underwater mud slides. The continental rise marks the end of continental crust "granite" and the beginning of oceanic crust "basalt." The abyssal plain is flat to low rolling hills of the ocean floor. The abyssal plain is covered with ooze which is rotten organic material from once living organisms. The mid-ocean ridge is an area of divergents in plate tectonics were the tectonic plates are splitting apart and new ocean floor is being created. Seamounts are underwater volcanoes that grow with each eruption and can become island once they break the surface of the ocean. Once a seamount breaks the surface it is called an island and will remain above sea level until erosion wears it down by wave action and weather. Once the island is eroded and it slips underwater it becomes a guyot. A guyot is a table top underwater mountain. Ocean trenches are created when two tectonic plates collide and the denser plate is pushed under the lighter plate creating an ocean trench. Oceanic trenches are the deepest features in the ocean and they can reach a depth of -6.97 miles.