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Ocean habitats
Littoral zone
Intertidal zone
Neritic zone
Continental shelf
Kelp forests
Coral reefs
Ocean banks
Continental margin
Straits
Pelagic zone
Oceanic zone
Seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Cold seeps
Demersal zone
Benthic zone
Aquatic ecosystems
Aquatic layers
Wild fisheries
Land habitats
     Sediment      Rock      Mantle

The continental margin is the zone of the ocean floor that separates the thin oceanic crust from thick continental crust. Continental margins constitute about 28% of the oceanic area. [1]

The transition from continental to oceanic crust commonly occurs within the outer part of the margin, called continental rise. Oceanwards beyond the edge of the rise lies the abyssal plain. The underwater part of the continental crust is called continental shelf, which usually abruptly terminates with the continental slope, which in turn terminates with the foot of the slope. The under-ocean part constitutes about 20% of the continental crust.[1]

The edge of the continental margin is one criterion for the boundary of the internationally recognized claims to underwater resources by countries in the definition of the "Continental Shelf" by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (although in the UN definition the "legal continental shelf" may extend beyond the geomorphological continental shelf and vice versa).

References

  1. ^ a b P. J. Cook, Chris Carleton (2000) "Continental Shelf Limits: The Scientific and Legal Interface", ISBN 0195117824
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