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High cliffs of Valdes Peninsula in Argentina. The Patagonian continental shelf, between the coast and the slope, is one of the largest and shallowest submarine plains on the planet.

Bathimetric map of the Patagonian Sea. Depths (metres) are shown as isobaths.

Produced from the ETOPO2 Database (National Geophysical Data Center – NGDC).

© William Conway
© William Conway Bathymetry

Continental Shelf

The Patagonian Sea includes an extensive and flat continental shelf (approximately 1,000,000 km2), which rarely exceeds 100 m.

At the edge of the shelf the depth increases to 160-200 m, and thence the slope increases more abruptly, by one metre for every 1,000 m (West to East) on the so-called continental slope.

Beyond the slope is the Argentine Basin, a great abyss, thousands of metres in depth.