Atlantic Ocean

Article

October 20, 2021

The Atlantic Ocean, called the Atlantic for short, is the second largest ocean on Earth, covering about 20% of the surface. The name of the ocean, derived from Greek mythology, means "sea of ​​Atlas".

Description

This ocean occupies an "S" shaped basin, arranged in the north-south direction. It is divided into two main sections, the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic, by equatorial currents located at about 8 ° north latitude. It is bordered to the west by the American continent (both the northern and southern parts) and to the east by Europe and Africa (but two of its adjacent seas, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea also bathe Asia). It communicates with the Pacific Ocean both to the north and to the south. The northern connection between the two oceans occurs through the Arctic Ocean, while the southern one is allowed by the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel and the Drake Channel. There is also an artificial connection between the two oceans, the Panama Canal, located at the isthmus that unites the two Americas. To the east it communicates with the Indian Ocean, through Cape Agulhas, at 20 ° E (and not from the Cape of Good Hope as is commonly believed), but also through the artificial canal of Suez. The Atlantic covers 20% of the Earth's surface, and is second only to the Pacific in breadth. The ocean itself covers an area of ​​approximately 82 362 000 km² (equal to 8 times that of Europe), which reaches 106 450 000 km² if we also consider its adjacent seas. The lands occupied by the Atlantic catchment area are four times that of the Pacific or Indian. The volume of the Atlantic Ocean is 323600000 km³, and 354.700.000 km³ also considering the adjacent seas. The average depth (volume / surface) of the Atlantic is 3926 m, reduced to 3 332 m if the adjacent seas are taken into account. The greatest depth is 9 219 m, reached in the Milwaukee Abyss, which is located in the Puerto Rico Trench, about 135 km north of the island of Puerto Rico. The width of the Atlantic varies between 2 848 km at the narrowest point, between Brazil and Liberia, up to 4 830 km between the United States and North Africa.

Ocean floor

The main feature of the topography of the Atlantic ocean floor is a large range of seamounts, called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It extends from the north end, next to Iceland, to the south end at 58 ° latitude, reaching a maximum width of about 1 600 km. Along the ridge, near the summit, there is a large trench that flows for most of the mountain range. The depth of the waters above the ridge is often less than 2 700 m, and numerous peaks rise out of the water, forming islands, such as the Azores. The South Atlantic also has two other narrow aseismic backbones, the Walvis Range and the Rio Grande Range. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge separates the Atlantic Ocean into two large sections, which have a depth of between 3 000 and 5 500 m. Transversal ridges, which connect the continents to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, divide the ocean floor into numerous basins. Some of the largest are the basins of Guiana, North America, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands in the North Atlantic, while in the South are the basins of Angola, Argentina and Brazil. The seabed is generally considered to be fairly flat, although there is no lack of mountains, pits and other features. Two pits are over 8,000 m deep. The continental shelves, close to the land, make up about 11% of the ocean floor. In addition, many channel-like formations cut through these platforms. The sediments deposited on the bottom have disparate origins. Terrigenous deposits are composed of particles of sand, mud and rock, formed by water erosion,

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