Three large submarine canyons, Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia, indent the U.S. Atlantic continental shelf and, with four additional canyons, dissect the continental slope in the vicinity of Georges Bank. On the upper rise, these canyons merge at a water depth of approximately 3100 m to form only two valleys. Differences in channel morphology of the canyons on the upper rise imply differences in relative activity, which is inconsistent with observations in the canyon heads. At present, Lydonia Canyon incises the upper rise more deeply than do the other canyons: however, seismic-reflection profiles show buried channels beneath the rise, which suggests that these other six canyons were periodically active during the Neogene. The rise morphology and the thickness of inferred Neogene- and Quaternary-age sediments on the rise are attributed to the presence and activity of the canyons. The erosional and depositional processes and the morphology of these canyons are remarkably similar to those of fluvial systems. Bear Seamount, which has approximately 2000 m of relief on the rise, has acted as a barrier to downslope sediment transport since the Late Cretaceous. Sediment has piled up on the upslope side, whereas much less sediment has accumulated in the "lee shadow" on the downslope side. Seismic-reflection profile data show that Lydonia Canyon has not eroded down to the volcanic rock of Bear Seamount. ?? 1985.