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Three areas of the United States Atlantic continental slope and rise (seaward of Georges Bank, Delaware Bay, and Pamlico Sound north of Cape Hatteras) have been studied using seismic reflection profiles and mid-range sidescan-sonar data. The continental slope in all three areas is dissected by numerous submarine canyons. The general sea floor gradient of the slope and the morphology of the rise, however, vary among the areas. Submarine canyons are dominant morphologic features on the slope and have an important function in sediment transport and distribution on the rise. In the study area north of Cape Hatteras, however, the low relief of the rise topography indicates that ocean currents flowing parallel to the margin may also affect sediment distribution on the rise. Mor hology and sedimentation patterns suggest that differences in canyon ages exist both within each area and among the areas. Spatial and temporal variability of canyon activity is important in determining sediment sources for the construction of the rise. Although the United States Atlantic slope and rise are relatively sediment-starved at present, mid-range sidescan data and submersible observations and samples suggest that periodic sediment transport events occur within the canyons.
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