Definition of continental shelf in English:

continental shelf


  • 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’
    • ‘Although it is commonly found in tropical inshore areas along continental shelves and island terraces, it has been seen as deep as 330 meters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 continental slope connects the continental shelf and the oceanic crust.’
    • ‘They were formed mainly in the relatively shallow waters of continental shelves by chemical or biochemical precipitation.’
    • ‘Dark blue indicates deep ocean basins, while light blue denotes shallow seas of the continental shelf.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘The infected creatures were mostly found along continental shelf breaks - areas where the ocean floor steeply drops and where krill are most abundant.’
    • ‘In this context, new integrated studies on geological processes occurring on the continental shelf would seem to be a ripe area for development.’
    • ‘During ice ages long ago, sea levels plunged and the continental shelf off the shores of Vietnam turned into dry land.’
    • ‘We live on a small island that stands on the continental shelf, a shallow area of seabed that joins Britain to mainland Europe.’
    • ‘The continental shelf is a relatively shallow area of seabed over which a great deal of marine life is found.’
    • ‘They forage on the open ocean over the continental shelf and farther out to sea.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The northern area displays an irregular continental shelf, which forms part of an extensive system of volcanic banks.’
    • ‘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.’


continental shelf