The channel is of glacial origin and is the submerged valley of the historic St. Lawrence River, running 1400 km from a sharp escarpment downstream from the confluence of the St. Lawrence with the Saguenay River, past Anticosti Island and through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the edge of the continental shelf off the island of Newfoundland.
Its depth ranges from 180 to 550 metres with sub-tidal shelves on each side of the channel ranging in depths of less than 100 metres. The channel ranges from a minimum width of 10 km to as much as 55 km at the edge of the continental shelf.
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