At the continental shelf's edge, there is a sudden change of gradient, i.e. a steep slope that drops from the edge of the continental shelf to the deep ocean bed is called a continental slope. It creates a boundary between the oceanic crust and the Continental Crust. It extends between the depth of \(180 to 3600 meters\). This zone is free from deposits or sediments, as they are steep.
The most significant characteristic of continental slope is the presence of trenches and deep canyons. Due to the very low penetration of sunlight, the zone has a nearly freezing temperature. Hence aquatic life has a very slow rate of metabolism. About half of all continental slopes descend into deep-sea trenches or shallow depressions.
This zone connects the continental slope and deep sea plains. The steep sloped continental slope has a region of gently sloping sediments that merge into the deepsea floor. This zone is called the continental rise (between the continental slope and abyssal plains). The steepness of continental rise is lower than that of the continental slope. It consists of submarine fans that are similar to the alluvial fans found on land.