Mediterranean Sea


July 1, 2022

The Mediterranean or Mediterranean Sea is a sea located between Europe in the north, Asia in the east and Africa in the south, and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, with the Indian Ocean in the southeast through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, and with the Black Sea by sea across the Bosphorus. The countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea are called the Mediterranean countries, and the entire area of ​​the sea and coastal countries is called the Mediterranean. The surface of this sea is 2,509 million km², its salinity is 38 parts per thousand, the greatest depth is 5,121 m (not far from the Peloponnese), and the total volume is (approximately) 3.7 million cubic kilometers. The Mediterranean Sea has a negative balance of water inflow: in summer it evaporates 4,690 km³, and with precipitation and river tributaries it receives only 1,830 km³ of water. It is estimated that without the constant flow of water from the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, this sea would dry up completely in approximately 1500 years. The maritime threshold between Sicily and the Tunisian coast divides the Mediterranean into eastern and western parts. The second underwater threshold lies between the Spanish and Moroccan coasts. The Mediterranean Sea, together with the Indian Ocean, is part of the Tethys sea, which disappeared thirty million years ago due to the movement of the African and Eurasian continental plates. Tectonic activity in the Mediterranean is otherwise very pronounced: in Italy, the volcanoes Etna and Vesuvius are active.


The term Mediterranean is derived from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning "in the middle of the earth (note: earth in the sense of the land, not the planet earth)" or "between the land" (medi-; adjective medius, -um -a "middle, between" + terra f., "land, land"): since it is between the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. The ancient Greek name Mesogeios (Μεσόγειος) is similarly derived from μεσο, "between" + γη, "land, earth"). It can be compared to the ancient Greek name Mesopotamia (Μεσοποταμία), meaning "between the rivers". The Mediterranean Sea has historically had several names. For example, the Carthaginians called it the "Syrian Sea" and later the Romans commonly called it Mare Nostrum ("Our Sea"), and occasionally Mare Internum and the Greeks as Mare Magnum, meaning "Great Sea." In ancient Syrian texts, Phoenician epics and the Hebrew Bible, it is primarily known as the "Great Sea" (הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל, HaYam HaGadol, Numbers 34:6,7; Joshua 1:4, 9:1, 15:47; Ezekiel 47:10,15,20) , or one