Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
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The Bank, the Bay, the Gulf
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This image was developed by the U.S. Geological
Survey using computer visualization software
to turn bathymetric maps into a three-dimensional
image. Click on picture for bigger version.

Between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, in the southwest corner of the Gulf of Maine, is Massachusetts Bay, 75% enclosed by land. The bay's most prominent submarine feature is Stellwagen Bank, which lies at the bay's eastern edge and partially blocks its mouth. Stellwagen Bank is a shallow, glacially-deposited, primarily sandy feature, curving in a southeast to northwest direction for 18.75 miles. It is roughly 6.25 miles across at its widest point at the southern end. Water depths over and around the bank range from 65 feet to more than 300 feet. Seaward of the bank, the seafloor slopes to depths of 600 feet or more.

Stellwagen Bank is the centerpiece of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which encompasses a total of 638 square nautical miles, or 842 square miles. The sanctuary also includes all of Tillies Bank (situated to the northeast of Stellwagen Bank) and southern portions of Jeffreys Ledge (situated to the north). The western boundary line of the sanctuary is approximately 25 miles east of Boston; the southern boundary is three miles from Provincetown while the northwestern boundary is three miles from Gloucester.

The sanctuary boundary occurs entirely within Federal waters (beyond the three-mile limit of Commonwealth jurisdiction). The southern border follows a line tangential to the seaward limit of Commonwealth jurisdiction adjacent to the Commonwealth-designated Cape Cod Bay Ocean Sanctuary; and is also tangential to waters designated by the Commonwealth as the Cape Cod Ocean Sanctuary. The northwest border of the sanctuary coincides with the Commonwealth-designated North Shore Ocean Sanctuary.

Page last modified by the Stellwagen Web team on
September 03, 2004

Revised September 03, 2004 by
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | U.S. Department of Commerce