Abyssal Plain

Definition - What does Abyssal Plain mean?

An Abyssal Plain is a large, flat area deep under the ocean floor which is covered by sediment. It is generally a plain area in the deep side of ocean usually at the depths of 3000 to 6000 meters. Abyssal plains cover almost 50% of the Earth’s surface and are the least explored portions of the Earth. They are the important geologic elements of the oceanic basins.

Petropedia explains Abyssal Plain

The Abyssal plain sediments consist of the following components:

  • Dust blown by wind at the surface of the ocean
  • Volcanic Ash formed after volcanic eruptions under sea
  • Chemical precipitates
  • Occasional meteorite fragments

When rivers meet the seas, the clay, sand, gravels, and minerals are washed into the ocean and out of this only a small fraction of the minerals reaches the Abyssal Plain. More often they are littered by nodules of manganese, iron, copper, nickel and cobalt. Because these plains lie in great ocean depths, the amount of biological sediments reaching there is very low; however, with long time depositions there lies opportunities for availability of hydrocarbons which still need to be explored.

Abyssal plains are commonly found in Atlantic and Indian Ocean basins.

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