Sunda Shelf


Sunda Shelf

▪ geological formation, Asia
      stable continental shelf, or platform, a southward extension of mainland Southeast Asia. Most of the platform is covered by shallow seas—including the southern South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand (Thailand, Gulf of), and the Java Sea—with depths averaging less than 330 feet (100 metres). Much of the Sunda Shelf's total area of 690,000 square miles (1,800,000 square km) is occupied by the Indonesian islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra. The shelf is separated from the Sahul Shelf (southeast) by the volcanic (and volcanically active) Lesser Sunda Islands and associated deeps. To the west and south, its limit is defined by the Java Trench, a deep and seismically active subduction zone. A massive earthquake in 2004, centred in this zone west of Sumatra, generated a large tsunami that devastated coastal areas in the region.

      The entire shelf was above sea level at one time. Evidence of this includes the remaining traces of a stream network, the channels of which cross north over the shelf into the South China Sea basin, and a second network going east into the Sunda Depression and the Flores Trough. Borneo and parts of Java, Sumatra, and associated islands are eroded metamorphic sections of the shelf left above sea level.

      The existence of the shelf was first reported in 1845 by G.W. Earl. Its economic importance grew after 1950, when reserves of petroleum and natural gas beneath the seafloor were exploited, particularly near Brunei and east of Malaysia.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sunda Shelf — Geologically, the Sunda Shelf is an extension of the continental shelf of Southeast Asia, covered during interglacials by the South China Sea, which isolates as islands Borneo, Sumatra Java and smaller islands. [Zvi Ben Avraham, Structural… …   Wikipedia

  • Sunda Flying Lemur — Sunda Flying Lemur[1] Galeopterus variegatus Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Sunda — may refer to:In Indonesia: * Sunda Islands, a group of islands in the western part of the Malay archipelago ** Greater Sunda Islands ** Lesser Sunda Islands * Sunda Strait, the strait between Java and Sumatra * Sunda Shelf, part of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Sahul Shelf — The Sahul Shelf is part of the continental shelf of Sahul (the Australia New Guinea continent) and lies off the northern coast of Australia. The Sahul Shelf proper stretches northwest from Australia much of the way under the Timor Sea towards… …   Wikipedia

  • Sahul Shelf — ▪ continental shelf, Pacific Ocean       stable structural shelf or platform of the ocean floor, extending from the northern coast of Australia to the island of New Guinea. A continental shelf, it was once above sea level, and its surface still… …   Universalium

  • Continental shelf — Marine habitats Anatomy of a continental shelf off the south eastern coast of the United States Littoral zone Intertidal zone …   Wikipedia

  • Indonesia — /in deuh nee zheuh, sheuh, zee euh, doh /, n. 1. See East Indies (def. 1). 2. Republic of. Formerly, Netherlands East Indies, Dutch East Indies. a republic in the Malay Archipelago consisting of 13,677 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi,… …   Universalium

  • List of ecoregions (WWF) — This is a list of ecoregions as compiled by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The WWF identifies terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecoregions.The terrestrial scheme divides the Earth s land surface into 8 terrestrial ecozones, containing 867… …   Wikipedia

  • Mount Rinjani — 1995 eruption Elevation 3,726 m (12,224 ft)  …   Wikipedia

  • Southeast Asia — Southeast Asian. the countries and land area of Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. * * * Vast region of Asia lying east of the Indian subcontinent and south of China. It includes …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.