|The Atlantic Ocean by Tiago Fioreze [CC BY-SA 3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
Facts About The Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest among all the oceans. It covers almost one fifth of the surface of the earth. The total area is close to 106,400,000 square kilometers or 41,100,000 sq mi. It is six and half times more than the size of USA.
The Atlantic serves as a great channel separating the Afro-Eurasian landmasses from the Americas. North east part of the ocean washes the shores of the North America continent while the North Western part touches Europe. The East and South East are bounded by South America and its opposite side is guarded by the continent of Africa.
The Atlantic Ocean covers a lot of area with its saline water. In its widest part, the Ocean’s breadth is 4800 Km or 3000 ml. It is shaped like an “S”. The middle part of the Atlantic is narrower than the northern and southern parts.
|Atlantic Ocean Map by NOAA|
The main body of the ocean is deep with an average depth of 2926 Mt (12181 ft). But the adjacent seas are shallower. The deepest point of the ocean is the Milwaukee Deep (8,380 meters or 27,490 ft) islands
Some of the world’s most renowned islands are in the Atlantic Ocean. The Great Britain is the most famous of these. We should also mention the nearby island of Ireland. Greenland is the world’s largest island. Iceland is another European island nation.
Some other famous Atlantic Islands are the Bahamas, Cuba, Folkland, Long Island, Canaries, Newfoundland, and Tristan de Cunha etc.
Water of the Atlantic is more saline than that of the Indian or Pacific Ocean. It varies from 3.3 to 3.7% according to season and latitude. But the water of the ocean has very little salinity near the mouth of the Amazon basin.
The temperature of the water varies according to season and latitude. The water near the tropics is way hotter than that of the water near the polar oceans.
Ridges and Trenches
The Atlantic Ocean’s floor has a few ridges. The most notable of these is the Mid Atlantic Ridge. It lies along the central part of the ocean floor from the Arctic Ocean to the tip of Africa. The total length is about 10000 miles or 16000 Km. The submarine mountain, in some places, rises over the surface of the ocean forming islands like St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha or Azores. Another important ridge, the Walvis ridge is in the southern part of the ocean.
The ocean floor also has numerous trenches. At 8605 meters, the Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest. Some other deep trenches are Laurentian Abyss, South Sandwich Trench, Romanche Trench etc.
Currents of the Atlantic
The water of the Atlantic is not static. There are many seasonal and regular currents which flows above and under the surface. Some of these are warm and some are cold.
Gulf Stream is a warm stream which flows beside the Caribbean islands, USA and Canadian shores of North America. The North Atlantic Drift and the Brazil current are two of the most important surface currents. There are also North, South Equatorial and the Equatorial counter current. Mention also should be made of the South Atlantic, Benguela and the Canary currents.
The economic history of the world says that some of the world’s most developed economies were immensely depended on the Atlantic. Still today, it plays important role in the economy of European, American and African countries.
Fishing industry is highly developed on the Atlantic. Fishes like Cod, Herring, and Mackerel etc can be found in abundance near the shores. The Great Banks of Newfoundland is the most famous place for commercial fishing industry. Some such other places are Nova Scotia, Georges Bank, and Bahamas Banks etc.
There is abundant petroleum under the water of the ocean. The sedimentary rocks near the continental slopes are excellent sources of these valuable liquid. Natural gas can also be collected from these fields. There are also Polly-metallic nodules, and precious stones.
Serious amount of cargoes are exchanged among the countries along the shore of the Atlantic. So, there are many important ports and harbours like London (UK), New Orleans (US), New York (US) Marseille (France), Montevideo (Uruguay), Montreal (Canada), Naples (Italy), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil),Copenhagen (Denmark), Alexandria (Egypt), Algiers (Algeria), Antwerp (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Casablanca (Morocco), Helsinki (Norway), and Hamburg (Germany) etc.
Indiscriminate fishing is a danger to the ecosystem of the Atlantic. Use of drift nets is killing the dolphins and sharks fast. The fish stock is also declining fast.
The industrial waste and the municipal sewerage are polluting the water of the ocean. The highly developed and densely populated countries are stressing and destroying the natural ecosystem of the ocean. More serious efforts are needed to save it from the clutches of the irresponsible men.