Atlantic Ocean Essay Research Paper Atlantic Ocean

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Atlantic Ocean Essay, Research Paper Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean, second largest of the world’s oceans, occupies an elongated, S-shaped basin extending in a north-south direction and is divided into the North Atlantic and South Atlantic by EQUATORIAL COUNTERCURRENTS at about 8 deg north latitude. Bounded by North and South America on the west and Europe and Africa on the east, the Atlantic is linked to the Pacific Ocean by the Arctic Ocean on the north and the Drake Passage on the south. An artificial connection between the Atlantic and Pacific is also provided by the Panama Canal. On the east, the dividing line between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans is the 20 deg E meridian. The Atlantic is separated from the Arctic Ocean by a line from Greenland to southernmost

Spitsbergen to northern Norway. Covering approximately 20% of the Earth’s surface, the Atlantic Ocean is second only to the Pacific in size. The name is derived from Greek mythology and means “Sea of Atlas.” With its adjacent seas it occupies an area of about 106,450,000 sq km (41,100,000 sq mi); without them, it has an area of 82,362,000 sq km (31,800,000 sq mi). The land area that drains into the Atlantic is four times that of either the Pacific or Indian oceans. The volume of the Atlantic Ocean with its adjacent seas is 354,700,000 km(3) (85,093,000 mi(3)) and without them 323,600,000 km(3) (77,632,000 mi(3). The average depth of the Atlantic, with its adjacent seas, is 3,332 m (10,932 ft); without them it is 3,926 m (12,877 ft). The greatest depth, 8,381 m (27,498 ft),

is in the Puerto Rico Trench. The width of the Atlantic varies from 2,848 km (1,769 mi) between Brazil and Liberia to about 4,830 km (3,000 mi) between the United States and northern Africa. The Atlantic Ocean has irregular coasts indented by numerous bays, gulfs, and seas. These include the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Hudson Bay, Baffin Bay, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Barents Sea, Norwegian-Greenland Sea, and Weddell Sea. Another characteristic feature is its relatively small number of islands. These include Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the Azores, the Madeira Islands, the Canaries, the Cape Verde Islands, Bermuda, the West Indies Ascension, St. Helena, Tristan da Cunha, the Falkland Islands, and the South

Georgia Islands. OCEAN BOTTOM The principal feature of the bottom topography of the Atlantic Ocean is a great submarine mountain range called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It extends from Iceland in the north to approximately 58 deg south latitude, reaching a maximum width of about 1,600 km (1,000 mi). A great RIFT VALLEY also extends along the ridge over most of its length. The depth of water over the ridge is less than 2,700 m (8,900 ft) in most places, and several mountain peaks rise above the water, forming islands. The South Atlantic Ocean has an additional submarine ridge, the Walvis Ridge. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge separates the Atlantic Ocean into two large troughs with depths averaging between 3,660 and 5,485 m (12,000 and 18,000 ft). Transverse ridges running between the

continents and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge divide the ocean floor into numerous basins. Some of the larger basins are the Guiana, North American, Cape Verde, and Canaries basins in the North Atlantic. The largest South Atlantic basins are the Angola, Cape, Argentina, and Brazil basins. The deep ocean floor is thought to be fairly flat, although numerous SEAMOUNTS and some guyots exist. Several deeps or trenches are also found on the ocean floor. The Puerto Rico Trench, in the North Atlantic, is the deepest. In the south Atlantic, the South Sandwich Trench, reaches a depth of 8,428 m (27,651 ft). A third major trench, the Romanche Trench, is located near the equator and reaches a depth of about 7,760 m (24,455 ft). The shelves along the margins of the continents constitute about 11% of