Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 624861, 17 pages
Research Article

The Staircase Structure of the Southern Brazilian Continental Shelf

1Centro de Matemática da Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre 687, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
2Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, King's College, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3UE Aberdeen, UK
3Escola de Artes Ciências e Humanidades, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua Arlindo Bettio 1000, 03828-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 3 November 2008; Revised 22 January 2009; Accepted 12 February 2009

Academic Editor: José Roberto Castilho Piqueira

Copyright © 2009 M. S. Baptista and L. A. Conti. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We show some evidences that the Southeastern Brazilian Continental Shelf (SBCS) has a devil's staircase structure, with a sequence of scarps and terraces with widths that obey fractal formation rules. Since the formation of these features is linked with the sea-level variations, we say that the sea level changes in an organized pulsating way. Although the proposed approach was applied in a particular region of the Earth, it is suitable to be applied in an integrated way to other shelves around the world, since the analyses favor the revelation of the global sea-level variations.