Facts About the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is an almost landlocked body of water situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the western coast of Asia.
It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the 14 mile long Straits of Gibraltar in the west and runs into the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphoros Sea in northern Turkey, to it's east.
The Suez Canal links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea in Egypt, in the south.
The Mediterranean Sea has a water surface of 2,200,000 sq kilometres (970,000 sq miles) a coastline of 46,000 km ( 29,000 miles ) and an average depth of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).
Its deepest point is the Calypso Deep situated in the Ionian Sea, at 5,267 metres (17,280 ft).
The Mediterranean Sea is divided into its eastern and western basins by way of a shallow ridge at the Strait of Sicily.
As it is almost completely landlocked the Mediterranean Sea has limited tides. Evaporation far exceeds precipitation in the area, leading to a decrease in water level and a rise in salinity level, particularly on its eastern coast.
The Mediterranean Sea is characterised by a deep, blue colouration.
The Mediterranean Sea evolved from the tectonic breakup and then collision of the African and Eurasian plates, between 5 and 12 million years ago.
Its history in an important factor in the development and origins of many of today's modern societies, being as it is, the linking element of three continents.
The climate of the area is hot and dry in summer and mild and wet in winter.
The areas main industries are tourism and fishing, mainly from sardines and swordfish, and the Mediterranean Sea supplies the world with 30% of its fish protein for consumption.
The area suffers from a high rate of pollution, mainly from chemical tank washing and accidental oil spillages, from the 220,000 merchant vessels that traverse the body of water every year.
The area is home to several protected areas, and is the main breeding grounds of the Bottlenose Dolphin and Loggerhead Turtle.
The word 'Meditterranean' is Latin for 'middle of the earth' but the body of water has been known by many titles throughout history, including Mare Nostrum, Roman for ' our sea ' as well as the Biblical terms of The Great Sea, Sea of the Philistines, The Middle Sea and The Roman / Byzantine Sea.
In Turkish the Mediterranean is known as The White Sea (Akdeniz) and in Arabic it is known as The White Middle Sea.
The Mediterranean Sea pictured looking east from the Straits of Gibraltar.
Thousands of rivers drain into the Mediterranean Sea, of which the three largest are, The Ebro, The Rhone and The Nile, which strangely, flows northwards into the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean Sea has over 3,000 islands, the largest of which is Sicily. Some are located in other smaller water bodies and are named as such, but most of them are considered overall, to be classified as Mediterranean Islands.
The islands with an overall surface area exceeding 500 sq km, are:
- Chios - Greece
- Corsica - France
- Corfu, part of the Ionian Group - Greece
- Crete - Greece
- Djerba - Tunisia
- Euboea - Greece
- Ibiza, part of the Balearic Group - Spain
- Kefalonia - Greece
- Lesbos - Greece
- Majorca, part of the Balearic Group - Spain
- Menorca, part of the Balearic Group - Spain
- Rhodes - Greece
- Sardinia - Italy
- Sicily - Italy
The Mediterranean Sea consists of 5 straits, 16 gulfs, several capes and bays and 8 smaller, named water bodies, they are:
- The Adriatic Sea
- The Aegean Sea
- The Alboran Sea
- The Balearic Sea
- The Ionian Sea
- The Ligurian Sea
- The Tyrrhenian Sea
- The Straits of Gibraltar
The Mediterranean Sea borders 21 countries from 3 continents which also includes 6 territories and 6 capital cities.
- Bosnia and Herzogovenia
- Algiers - Algeria
- Athens - Greece
- Rome - Italy
- Tripoli - Libya
- Tunis - Tunisia
- Valetta - Malta
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Cyprus - U.K.
- Ceuta and Melilla, North Africa - Spain
- Gaza, Palestine
- Gibraltar, Iberian Peninsula - U.K.
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