Long-Term Environmental Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development

By Donald F. Boesch; Nancy N. Rabalais | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 3

DOMINANT FEATURES AND PROCESSES OF CONTINENTAL SHELF ENVIRONMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES
Nancy N. Rabalais and Donald F. Boesch
CONTENTS
Introduction ........................................................................... 71
Atlantic Coast ......................................................................... 90
General Oceanography ......................................................... 90
New England ...................................................................... 91
Middle Atlantic Bight ........................................................... 94
South Atlantic Bight ............................................................ 98
Gulf of Mexico ....................................................................... 102
General Oceanography ......................................................... 102
West Florida Shelf ............................................................... 103
North Central Gulf of Mexico ................................................ 106
Northwestern Gulf of Mexico and South Texas ......................... 109
Pacific Coast ........................................................................... 113
General Oceanography ......................................................... 113
Southern California .............................................................. 115
Central and Northern California ............................................. 117
Washington-Oregon ............................................................. 119
Alaska ................................................................................... 120
General Oceanography ......................................................... 120
Gulf of Alaska .................................................................... 121
Bering Sea ......................................................................... 124
Alaskan Arctic .................................................................... 128
Comparison of Vulnerability of Shelf Environments ...................... 133
Sedimentary Regime ........................................................... 134
Temperature ...................................................................... 134
Depth .............................................................................. 135
Biogenically Structured Communities ..................................... 135

INTRODUCTION

Continental shelves constitute relatively small areas of the ocean (7.6% of ocean area) where water depths are generally less than 200 m. Continental

-71-

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