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The Atlantic Ocean

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  • The Atlantic Ocean









    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about 106,400,000 square kilometres (41,100,000 sq mi), it covers approximately twenty percent of the Earth's surface and about twenty-six percent of its water surface area. The first part of its name refers to Atlas of Greek mythology, making the Atlantic the "Sea of Atlas.


    The Atlantic Ocean is bounded on the west by North and South America. It connects to the Arctic Ocean through the Denmark Strait, Greenland Sea, Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea. To the east, the boundaries of the ocean proper are Europe; the Strait of Gibraltar (where it connects with the Mediterranean Sea–one of its marginal seas–and, in turn, the Black Sea) and Africa.


    In the southeast, the Atlantic merges into the Indian Ocean. The 20° East meridian, running south from Cape Agulhas to Antarctica defines its border. Some authorities show it extending south to Antarctica, while others show it bounded at the 60° parallel by the Southern Ocean.


    In the southwest, the Drake Passage connects it to the Pacific Ocean. The man-made Panama Canal links the Atlantic and Pacific. Besides those mentioned, other large bodies of water adjacent to the Atlantic are the Caribbean Sea; the Gulf of Mexico; Hudson Bay; the Arctic Ocean; the Mediterranean Sea; the North Sea; the Baltic Sea and the Celtic Sea.


    FeaturesThe Atlantic Ocean sits in an S-shaped basin that runs in a north-south direction, bounded by Europe and Africa on the east and by North and South America on the west. An ocean basin is a large, deep depression that gradually slopes towards the sea floor, forming the shape of a basin. The Atlantic is divided into the North and South sections by the Equator and is connected to the larger Pacific Ocean via the Arctic Ocean to the north, and by the Drake Passage to the south.


    Running directly through the Atlantic Ocean is the great Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range that runs from Iceland, all the way to 58ºS latitude. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge separates the Atlantic Ocean into two main basins that are further divided into a number of other basins north and south of the equator. In the North Atlantic, the most prominent ocean basins are: the Baffin basin, the Hudson basin, the Labrador basin, the Newfoundland basin and the very large North American Basin that extends from just off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to approximately the same latitude as Puerto Rico.
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