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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Continental hypsography

  • Author(s): Harrison, C. G. A;
  • Miskell, K. J;
  • Brass, G. W;
  • Saltzman, E. S;
  • Sloan, J. L
  • et al.

We have used average continental elevations for 1-degree-square areas to construct detailed continental hypsographic curves. The curves available up to the present have been those prepared by Kossinna, but they suffer from some drawbacks, the most important being that the elevation interval is for the most part 1 km, which does not allow for very detailed work. Consequently, we have given data for each 0.1 km interval of elevation. The availability of the data on tapes allowed us also to make calculations of the average elevation of each continent, an important normalizing parameter when comparing continental hypsographic curves, and to add on the effects of the continental shelves. It has also allowed us to recalculate the amount of continent antipodal to continent and to produce a map of the world showing these areas. We have also used the detailed curves and the amounts of continental flooding during the Neozoic to derive records of sea level variation necessary to explain the amount of flooding for each continent through time.

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