Skip to main content

Marginal Seas

  • Reference work entry
  • First Online:
Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

Part of the book series: Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series ((EESS))

Synonyms

Marginal basin; Back-arc basin; Back-arc sea

Definition

In geology, a marginal sea is the sea bordering continents, semi-isolated from open ocean by island arc or land ridge, and underlain by oceanic crust (Karig, 1971). Thus a marginal sea is a deep-sea basin with water depth in general over ~3,000 m, while its slopes and shelves are called as its continental margins.

As a geographic and oceanographic term, a “marginal sea” represents a partially enclosed sea adjacent to or widely open to open ocean at the surface, but bounded by submarine ridges on the seafloor (Wikipedia). The presence of oceanic crust is not required.

As a geopolitical term, a marginal sea is equivalent to a territorial water, which is important in determining what maritime resources that a state can exploit (Wikipedia).

Geographic distribution

The marginal seas in geological context are distributed mainly in western Pacific Ocean, forming a giant sea chain of ~12,000 km long from the north to the south. A...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 499.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 699.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Bibliography

  • Clift, P. D., Layne, G. D., and Bliesztajn, J., 2004. Marine sedimentary evidence for monsoon strengthening, Tibetan uplift and drainage evolution. In Clift, P., Kuhnt, W., Wang, P., and Hayes, D. (eds.), Continent-Ocean Interactions within East Asian Marginal Seas. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union, pp. 255–282.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Curray, J.R., Moore, D.G., Kelts, K., Einsele, G., 1982. Tectonics and geological history of the passive continental margin at the tip of Baja California, in: Curray, J.R., Moore, D.G. (Ed.), Initial Reports DSDP 64. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, p. 1089–1116.

    Google Scholar 

  • Karig, D. E., 1971. Origin and development of marginal basins in the western Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research, 76, 2542–2561.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Matsuda, T., and Uyeda, S., 1971. On the pacific-type orogeny and its model – extension of the paired belts concept and possible origin of marginal seas. Tectonophysics, 11, 5–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Packham, G. H., and Falvey, D. A., 1971. An hypothesis for the formation of marginal seas in the western pacific. Tectonophysics, 11, 79–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sleep, N., and Toksöz, M. N., 1971. Evolution of marginal basins. Nature, 233, 548–550.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tamaki, K., and Honza, E., 1991. Global tectonics and formation of marginal basins: role of the western Pacific. Episodes, 14, 225–230.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang, P., 1999. Response of Western Pacific marginal seas to glacial cycles: paleoceanographic and sedimentological features. Marine Geology, 156, 5–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang, P., 2004. Cenozoic deformation and the history of sea-land interactions in Asia. In Clift, P., Kuhnt, W., Wang, P., and Hayes, D. (eds.), Continent-Ocean Interactions within East Asian Marginal Seas. Washington, DC: AGU, pp. 1–22.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Di Zhou .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this entry

Cite this entry

Zhou, D. (2016). Marginal Seas. In: Harff, J., Meschede, M., Petersen, S., Thiede, J. (eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6238-1_187

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics