Ocean relief


It is known as oceanic relief to the imperfections or irregular parts of the earth’s plates in the region that is covered by water, that is, the underwater region. Natural phenomena such  as the displacement of tectonic plates or sediments dragged from various places participate in its formation  .


What is ocean relief?

Relief is considered to be those alterations that affect a surface that is totally flat, either by a depression , subsidence of the surface or the ground, and by an increase in elevation to which the name of relief is given. For this reason, the terrain of the seabed is called oceanic or underwater relief and refers to the shape of the ocean floor. Its structures have been formed over the years as a result of the displacement of the earth’s tectonic plates and the mobilization of certain sediments .

  • What is ocean relief?
  • Characteristics of the oceanic relief
  • Training
  • Shapes and types
  • Distribution of the oceanic relief
  • Importance

What is ocean relief?

The oceanic relief is determined by layers that begin when the coastline ends. The continental platform begins which starts from the beach until it plunges about 200 meters deep, behind it there is an area that bears the name of continental slope which goes down about 4 thousand meters and behind it are the different graves.


Characteristics of the oceanic relief

The oceanic relief has the basic characteristics of any surface, topography , composition of the soils, types of rocks, magnetic direction, salinity of the sea . The topographic studies that have been made to the seabed have determined that the soil is flat but has a fairly strong sedimentation .

These sediments are dragged by different variables, one of them is young rocks, with a composition based on basalt magma, another of these sediments are produced by hydrothermal vents which emit volcanic ashes from them, or by the same natural effects. of marine life such as corals, crabs, marine plants or other activities of the biology.


Every time tectonic displacements occur logically, land displacements occur and it is there when parts of the terrain accumulate or there are separations of the plate where the sea trenches open.

In turn, the waves have an effect of constant erosion , thus shaping the coast and this in turn also dragging the sediments from the shores and giving way to shaping the depths.

Shapes and types

Given the conditions of the oceanic relief that each level of the oceanic platform presents , each area of ​​them, three in particular , are classified by their light intensity and the biodiversity activities carried out there:

  • The photosynthetic or euphoric zone is the cousin that we find on the continental shelf, it has an extension approximately between 40 and 50 meters, however, those that are closer to the Equator will have a larger extension of approximately 100 meters. In this area the waters are quite clear, however, not to the human eye , that is why it is where there is more development of the marine flora and many varieties of fish are seen thanks to the diversity of food.
  • The dysphotic zone is the region that follows, with a depth of about 200 meters, the absence of light is already beginning to be noticed, and although fish activities can be observed on a smaller scale than in the previous zone, the fauna begins to be practically null up to this point.
  • The aphotic zone is the one that is already in the depths, it is taken almost at the beginning of the slope, in this the presence of light is almost nil , and the fauna is completely scarce and with little presence of small marine animals, thus leaving I move on to larger and more aggressive animals .

Distribution of the oceanic relief

The distribution of the oceanic relief is as follows:

  • The continental shelf that extends from the beginning of the beaches and extends up to 200 meters deep. This not only encompasses the water, but also the rapidly descending sandy formations.
  • The bathyal region or continental slope , has an extension of about 1000 meters, this begins at the end of the previous platform and also has a very marked descent.
  • The abyssal region , ranges from 1000 meters to 5000 meters. With large ocean plains and also has a large deposit of remains of plant and animal origin and in some areas human waste. It is a poorly molded area and is considered the counterpart of the continental massifs.
  • The oceanic ridges are sea mountains that extend for about 60 thousand kilometers, in them there is usually volcanic and seismic activity , since it is located on a platform of the earth that deals with the expansion of the seabed.
  • The graves are about 5000 meters deep and these are very enclosed caverns, but with a great extension. These are found mostly in the Pacific Ocean in areas quite dislocated in the great folds of the ocean .


With the study of the oceanic relief, it has been possible to determine the different forms of its formation, how marine life is composed according to the amount of light per area in the categories of the depths of the ocean and the constant study of seismographic and volcanic activity of the underwater bed.

Leave a Comment