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Abyssal plains: what they are and characteristics

The oceans, like the terrestrial regions, have reliefs and plains throughout their territory. Although somewhat more unknown than the mountain ranges and valleys that we can find between mountains in any corner of the planet, the ocean ridges and trenches, as well as the abyssal plains make up the relief of the world’s oceans. Its complex structures are responsible for the different ecosystems that we can find on the ocean floor.

Without a doubt, the abyssal plains fill with intrigue and admiration at the same time, when discovering their characteristics and what type of fauna they harbor. Continue reading this AgroCorrn article to immerse yourself in the knowledge of the abyssal plains, what they are and characteristics .

Abyssal plains: what are they

The abyssal plains are the region of the continental territory near the coast , which appears as underwater extensions that are submerged in the oceanic regions. They are located at a depth of between 2,000 and 5,500 meters , being located between the continental slope (a very inclined underwater region that connects the continental platform with the abyssal plains) and a ridge or oceanic trench (elevations and deep underwater cavities of the terrain, respectively ).

As its name suggests, the abyssal plain tends to be flat and horizontal; easily identifiable as it is surrounded by underwater terrain with slopes and slopes.

It is estimated that approximately 40% of the planet’s ocean floor is made up of the abyssal plains. In this way, we can find abyssal plains in the four oceans of the world, among which stand out the Argentine abyssal plain and that of Vizcaya in the Atlantic Ocean, those of Somalia and Arabia in the Indian Ocean, the abyssal plains Tufts and Aleutians in the Ocean. Pacific and the abyssal plains Bellishausen and Enderby in the Arctic.

Abyssal plains: characteristics

In the abyssal plains there is the highest concentration of sediments on the planet , where layers of sediment from the solidification of magma, as well as components of rocks rich in magnesium and silica, accumulate year after year.

The abyssal plains appear as huge areas of flat terrain, oceanic deserts in which certain elements of the relief can sometimes be found, such as volcanic islands and hills and guyot (conical structures that probably arose as volcanic islands but were severely eroded, presenting the flattened top and being submerged in the ocean floor).

Abyssal Plains Animals

Due to the lack of light in the abyssal plains , the fauna that we can find in these aquatic saltwater ecosystems is really poor. There is hardly any life, except for the presence of certain species of chemosynthetic bacteria that, as their name suggests, perform chemosynthesis instead of the common photosynthesis process that other bacteria and plants perform to feed themselves. In this case, these bacteria use different gaseous products that they take from the subsoil of the volcanic areas that exist in the abyssal plains, which they chemically process until obtaining the necessary nutrients for their survival.

On the other hand, we can find some invertebrate animals within the group of abyssal worms and certain vertebrates, the abyssal fish . These abyssal fish have large mouths and different types of morphological structures that they use as traps or baits to catch their prey.

As we have pointed out previously, the lack of light characteristic of the abyssal plains is responsible for the life forms that inhabit them must adapt and develop other methods and processes of nutrition. In the case of fish, we find numerous examples of the use of bioluminescence to trap their prey. These are luminous appendages that they have in the front area of ​​their body and that they use to attract the attention of their prey and, once they are close, they are caught, falling into the networks of the large mouths of their predators.

In this other AgroCorrn article we continue to talk about curious fauna of the oceans and we tell you some information about 20 rare marine animals in danger of extinction .

If you want to read more articles similar to Abyssal Plains: what they are and characteristics , we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment .

  • Ponce, J. (2019) Submarine platform and Argentine Atlantic coast during the last 22,000 years. Researchgate . Recovered from
  • Ramírez, E. and Billett, D. (2006) Ecosystems of the deep sea: Privileged reservoir of biodiversity and technological challenges. The exploration of Marine Biodiversity, Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona . pp: 73-82.
  • Alfaro, P. et al., (2007) An integrated study of the land relief. Conceptual and didactic foundations. Teachings of Earth Sciences . pp: 115-118.
  • Canals, M. et al., (2000) The submarine landslides of the Canary Islands. Makaronesia . pp: 64-66.
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