Continental shelf

A continental shelf is the part of the continent that is under water. The shelf was part of the land during the ice ages in the glacial periods, but under water in the interglacial periods. We are at present in an interglacial period.[1][2]

Every continent is in the sea, like an island. Most of the island is above the water line, and we see it as a continent. Some of it though, is below the water line. Beyond the continental shelf, the bottom goes down to much greater depths.

Western Interior Seaway during the mid-Cretaceous, about 100 million years ago

The continental shelf is a shallow ocean. It varies in depth, up to 140 metres deep. It varies greatly in its width. At the leading edge of a moving continental plate there will be little or no shelf. The western edge of the Americas are an example. The shelf on a passive edge of a plate will be wide and shallow. The widest shelf is the Siberian shelf in the Arctic Ocean: it is 1500 km (930 miles) in width.

Inland seas

There have been, at some periods, shallow seas inside continents. These are called epicontinental seas. Much of present-day North America was covered by an epicontinental sea called the Sundance Sea during the Jurassic period.[3] In the Cretaceous an even larger area was covered by the Western Interior Seaway.

Other Languages
العربية: منحدر قاري
azərbaycanca: Şelf
беларуская: Шэльф
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Шэльф
Deutsch: Schelf
eesti: Mandrilava
Ελληνικά: Υφαλοκρηπίδα
Esperanto: Kontinentbreto
فارسی: فلات قاره
한국어: 대륙붕
Bahasa Indonesia: Landas benua
íslenska: Landgrunn
עברית: מדף יבשתי
ქართული: შელფი
Kiswahili: Tako la bara
Kreyòl ayisyen: Plato kontinantal
lietuvių: Šelfas
Bahasa Melayu: Pentas benua
Nederlands: Continentaal plat
日本語: 大陸棚
norsk nynorsk: Kontinentalsokkel
русский: Шельф
slovenčina: Šelf
slovenščina: Kontinentalna polica
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Epikontinentalni pojas
Tiếng Việt: Thềm lục địa
West-Vlams: Continentoal plat
中文: 大陆架