Geology 001A                                                                                      West Valley College

Physical Geology                                                                                  R. Lopez

Study Questions: The Sea Floor

1.      The seafloor is divided into what two broad categories?

2.      What is a trailing continental margin?

3.      What is the average depth range for the shelf break?

4.      Sketch and label a Trailing continental margin below.

5.      What are some of the differences between a passive and active continental margin?

6.      Define the following:

Continental Slope,

Continental Shelf,

Continental Rise,

Abyssal Plain,



Mid-Ocean Ridges,

Transform Faults,

Fracture zones,

Ocean Trenches,

Aseismic Ridges,

Benioff Zone,

Subduction Zone,

Thrust Fault,

Transform Fault.


7.      What are Submarine Canyons and Abyssal Fans?  What is one possible ways in which submarine canyons form?

8.      When was the Pleistocene Epoch?  What is significant about the Pleistocene Epoch?

9.      What are some of the features of Mid-Ocean Ridges?

10.  What is Pillow basalt and how is it formed (see Fig. 3.17 in text)?

11.  What is the Rift Valley?

12.  For what two reasons is hydrothermal circulation important (we discussed these in lecture)?

13.  How are guyots formed?  Why do they subside below sealevel?

14.  What are fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls (see page 65)?

15.  Why do corals need sunlight? (hint: the zooxanthellae I talked about in lecture.)

16.  What are the four subdivisions of ocean sediment?

17.  Sketch an active continental margin.

18.  About how old are the oldest parts of ocean floor?