Definition of continental shelf in English:

continental shelf

noun

  • The area of seabed around a large land mass where the sea is relatively shallow compared with the open ocean. The continental shelf is geologically part of the continental crust.

    mass noun ‘extensive areas of continental shelf’
    • ‘Glacial periods result in lowered ocean levels, while interglacial periods result in a rise in ocean levels, covering the continental shelf with shallow seas.’
    • ‘We constrained our survey to areas within the continental shelf for several reasons.’
    • ‘The usual habitat of these whales is the open ocean and the edges of continental shelves except in polar regions where they follow retreating ice edges.’
    • ‘They forage on the open ocean over the continental shelf and farther out to sea.’
    • ‘The northern area displays an irregular continental shelf, which forms part of an extensive system of volcanic banks.’
    • ‘Because they are so shallow - typically less than 300 meters deep - continental shelves are very susceptible to the variations in sea level caused by the waxing and waning of the ice sheets.’
    • ‘The infected creatures were mostly found along continental shelf breaks - areas where the ocean floor steeply drops and where krill are most abundant.’
    • ‘The continental slope connects the continental shelf and the oceanic crust.’
    • ‘Dark blue indicates deep ocean basins, while light blue denotes shallow seas of the continental shelf.’
    • ‘Green represents land above water at this time, red indicates mountains, light blue indicates shallow seas of the continental shelves, and dark blue denotes the deep ocean basins.’
    • ‘In this context, new integrated studies on geological processes occurring on the continental shelf would seem to be a ripe area for development.’
    • ‘We live on a small island that stands on the continental shelf, a shallow area of seabed that joins Britain to mainland Europe.’
    • ‘Offshore orcas are seldom in protected inshore waters, spending most of their time in the open ocean on the continental shelf.’
    • ‘Sea levels rose, covering the continental shelves and land bridges, splitting up and isolating populations and individual species.’
    • ‘They were formed mainly in the relatively shallow waters of continental shelves by chemical or biochemical precipitation.’
    • ‘During ice ages long ago, sea levels plunged and the continental shelf off the shores of Vietnam turned into dry land.’
    • ‘The continental shelf is a relatively shallow area of seabed over which a great deal of marine life is found.’
    • ‘Although it is commonly found in tropical inshore areas along continental shelves and island terraces, it has been seen as deep as 330 meters.’
    • ‘This study analyzes data collected on coral reefs in the Florida Keys, which is the only shallow water coral reef tract on the continental shelf of North America.’
    • ‘The average depth of the major oceans, beyond the continental shelves, is between 12,000 to 20,000 feet, while some trenches are as deep or deeper than Mt. Everest is high.’

Pronunciation

continental shelf