If the earth’s surface was in a state of minimum potential energy, it would be smooth and covered by a uniform ocean of constant thickness. The sea floor would be 2.44 km below present sea level and covered by an ocean 2.64 km deep. The ocean surface would then be 2.64- 2.44 = 0.2 km (200 m) above present sea level. The earth’s surface is not at minimum potential energy however; it is concentrated at two levels. The continents and continental shelves are at + 0.4 km above sea level, and the deep ocean at - 4.5 km below sea level (Chapter 1, Figure 1.3).
KeywordsContinental Shelf Gravity Anomaly Tectonic Plate Ocean Floor Seismic Refraction
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