Abyssal Plain

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11525

Would you like to live in a place that is always wet, completely dark, and be under very heavy weights? Some animals live like that in the depths of the ocean! Research and make a poster about them!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What landform makes up more than 50% of the earth's surface? You may be very surprised!

The ocean floor has several underwater geographical features. (To learn more about these, explore the Elephango lesson found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidbear.)

In this lesson, you will learn about an underwater geographical feature called abyssal plains. Like a plain on land, an abyssal plain is a flat surface on the floor of the ocean. These underwater plains are considered the flattest and smoothest regions on Earth and make up more than 50% of the Earth's surface! Typically, an abyssal plain is located 10,000 to 20,000 feet below the water's surface and can be quite huge.

Atlantic coast seafloor

Image by Van den Hove, S. , Moreau, V. , UNEP-WCMC, HERMES Project, via flickr's Internet Archive Book Images, has no known copyright restrictions.

Most abyssal plains are located after a continental rise and can extend for thousands of miles. Abyssal plains are most common in the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists believe abyssal plains consist of sediment from land that accumulates in between hills, smoothing out the underwater surface.

Despite covering so much of the Earth's surface, abyssal plains are mostly unexplored, and little is known about them. Why do you think that is? Tell your teacher or parent.

Now, move on to the Got It? section to learn what living organisms have actually touched the surface of the abyssal plain.

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