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The Amazing Atlantic Ocean

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Atlantic Ocean. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Debbie Hudson

The Atlantic is Majestic

Geologists say that the Atlantic Ocean was formed 201 to 145 million years ago during the famous Jurassic Park Period, during the Age of the almighty dinosaurs. Located between the Americas, Europe, and Africa, the majestic Atlantic Ocean borders four continents - Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. It stretches more than 41 million square miles (1.0619 E+14 sq Km), the second largest ocean on Earth after the Pacific Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean covers around 20% of the world’s total surface. While it is the second largest ocean out of the other 5 world oceans, it is the second youngest.

The Stretch of the Atlantic. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jenna Bash

The Ocean Currents of the Atlantic

The North Atlantic and South Atlantic each have distinct ocean currents that influence weather around the world. The Atlantic Ocean is incredibly deep. The deepest portion of water is the Milwaukee Deep, located off the coast of Puerto Rico. Waters here reach down an average of 10,955-feet (3,339 m) and the total Oceanic Coastline is about 69,510 miles (111,866 Km).

The ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean move in different directions based on their location on the map. The currents at the Equator move from East to West. They turn in a clockwise direction in the North and anti-clockwise direction in the South. The Gulf of Stream is one of the most important ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean. It is responsible for preventing ice formation in the North European harbors. The strong winds and ocean currents between the tip of South Africa and South America are called Roaring Forties. The Atlantic Ocean is home to numerous fish and is a high source of fishing income. It also has unusual aquatic animals like sea lions, humpback whales, tiger sharks, giant octopuses, etc.

The Currents of the Atlantic. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Guillaume Bassem

Florida has the largest amount of coastal land bordering the Atlantic Ocean than any other US state. The Florida Reef is a remarkable site that measures 160-miles long, making it one of the world’s largest coral reefs. Thanks to the massive coral reefs and local tropical climate, Florida is home to a vast variety of sea creatures. Florida is home to the largest number of nesting sea turtles in the entire world.

Sea Turtle at Delray Beach, FL. Photo Credit: Unsplash/Richard Segrado

Challenges Facing the Atlantic Ocean

For centuries, the magnificent Atlantic Ocean biome has faced and is facing numerous challenges. Overfishing has affected the ecological balance and resulted in a decrease in fish like tuna and cod. The Atlantic Ocean is home to important trade routes, significant natural resources, and essential biodiversity. Oceanic piracy; transnational organized crime; illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; climate change; pollution; and environmental degradation pose a threat to all those who dwell in this environment. Climate change is slowing down the conveyor belt of ocean currents that brings warm water from the tropics up to the North Atlantic. Extraction of offshore oil and gas also contributes to major ecological pollution.

The Government agencies are tackling this humongous problem bravely. Yet, they persist.

Did You Know?

  • A type of fish that was said to be extinct for sixty million years was once caught in the Atlantic Ocean in 1938. The coelacanth was found off the coast of southern Africa.

  • The unsinkable Titanic ship sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912 when it collided with an iceberg on its voyage from Southampton to New York.

  • American aviator Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in 1927.

  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly (solo) over the Atlantic Ocean. She achieved this feat in 1928.


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