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In the spring of 1969 a geologic and geophysical study of the Black Sea was made by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Echo-sounding profiles taken during the expedition, supplemented by published information, indicate that the continental shelf has its greatest development south of Odessa where it is more than 200 km wide. Elsewhere the shelf is less than 20 km wide. The continental slopes are about 1,800 m high, and are deeply entrenched by submarine canyons, except for the slope seaward of the Danube which is only about 1,000 m high and is relatively smooth. Seaward, the Danube fan has buried most of this slope and has prograded across the abyssal plain that occupies the central part of the Black Sea.
Continuous seismic profiles across the continental slopes generally show extensions of land structure, especially along the east coast, where ridges possibly related to the Caucasus Mountains trend across the shelf and slope. Some diapirs were observed off the Russian coast. Records from the abyssal plain generally showed it to be featureless, except near the continental slopes where considerable evidence of faulting and slumping was found.
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