The New International Encyclopædia/Bank

BANK (same as banc, bench, elevation). An elevation of the bottom of the sea. When tolerably smooth at the top, banks constitute shallows, shoals, and flats, but when rocky they become reefs, ridges, keys, etc. Pilots and captains of ships are required to be intimately acquainted with the banks along their route; and a chart, if properly prepared, always defines them by means of small dots, if sandy, and small crosses, if rocky. The Newfoundland and the Bahama banks are well-known examples of this kind of sea bottom. In war time, small vessels often escape capture by running into shallows, where larger vessels dare not follow them. The fauna of the banks differs from that of the surrounding deeper waters and often supports important fisheries, as those of the cod and other fish on the Newfoundland banks.