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The sea without a shore

Sargasso Sea

Fun Facts

The sea without a shore

Is it possible for a sea to have no coastline, no beaches, nor come into contact with any land whatsoever? You would be surprised to find out that there is one such sea. And that sea that is located in the middle of an ocean. How is it possible?

The Sargasso Sea, The Sea Without A Shore

The Sargasso Sea is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, just a little north of the equator. The water in the Sargasso Sea is one of the clearest in the ocean, with underwater visibility of up to and incredible 200 feet. The edge of this secret sea can be seen from the air as the boundry is marked by a dramatic change in color to a deep blue.

The Sea Of Zen

The sea is created by calmness. This expanse of water is almost completely free of ocean currents, eddies, and has notably mild weather. The name of the sea originates from the 15th century thanks to Portuguese sailors who were amazed by the massive collection of seaweed (of the Sargassum variety) that they found floating in it. The seaweed is pushed into the sea by the strong ocean currents that surround the area. (those circular currents are called a gyre, created by the Coriolis Effect)

Sadly, those same currents that collect the seaweed have also gathered a fair amount of pollution. There are large puddles of oil and plastic trash in the Sargasso Sea. It’s similar to the more famous “plastic island” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Danger Of Calm

Sargasso SeaBefore modern ships, the Sargasso Sea used to be hazardous to sailors. The incredibly calm ocean and constantly weak winds could leave ships stranded on the open ocean, unable to move. In addition to the unusual conditions, a portion of the infamous Bermuda triangle also lie within the sea’s borders.

This part of the world has been named the horse latitudes (between 30 and 35 degrees latitude) after an odd sailing tradition that involved parading around the deck with a straw horse and tossing it overboard. Dumping the “dead horse” was to signify working off debts at around that point in the journey.

References:
Ruth Heller (2000). A Sea Within a Sea: Secrets of the Sargasso. Price Stern Sloan.
“The Sargasso Sea”. World Book 15. Field Enterprises. 1958.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Cathy

    July 4, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I’ve read about those plastic islands. They’re largely made of garbage. They’re sparse for the most part, so it’s not like you can walk on them, but you’ll see all kinds of trash floating out there. I wonder if there are any message in the bottles caught in the vortex.

    Humans really need to do something about all the pollution. I’m sure China with its 4 billion people dumping their garbage into the Pacific isn’t helping matters, but they’re not the only culprits. The US, and Australia are also to blame. As is India and the rest of the South Pacific nations. We only have one planet that’s habitable, we need to keep it clean. With Australia’s PM wanting to destroy the coral reefs so they can drill for oil, things are looking a bit bleak.

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