Atlantic Ocean referat

Atlantic Ocean, the second largest of the earth's four oceans and the most heavily traveled. Only the Pacific Ocean is larger. It covers about twice the area of the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic is divided into two nominal sections: The part north of the equator is called the North Atlantic; the part south of the equator, the South Atlantic. The ocean's name is derived from Atlas, one of the Titans of Greek mythology.

I BOUNDARIES AND SIZE The Atlantic Ocean is essentially an S-shaped north-south channel, extending from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Antarctic continent in the south and situated between the eastern coast of the American continents and the western coasts of Europe and Africa. The Atlantic Ocean proper has a surface area of about 82 million sq km (about 31,660,000 sq mi). Including its marginal seas—the Gulf of Mexico-Caribbean Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the North, Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black seas—the total area is about 106,190,000 sq km (about 41 million sq mi).

The boundary between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean is arbitrarily designated as lying along a system of submarine ridges that extend between the land masses of Baffin Island, Greenland, and Scotland. More clearly defined is the boundary with the Mediterranean Sea at the Strait of Gibraltar and with the Caribbean Sea along the arc of the Antilles. The South Atlantic is arbitrarily separated from the Indian Ocean on the east by the 20° east meridian and from the Pacific on the west along the line of shallowest depth between Cape Horn and the Antarctic Peninsula.

II MARINE RESOURCES The Atlantic Ocean contains some of the world's most productive fisheries, located on the continental shelves and marine ridges off the British Isles, Iceland, Canada (especially the Grand Banks off Newfoundland), and the northeastern United States. Upwelling areas, in which the nutrient-rich waters of the ocean depths flow up to the surface, as in the vicinity of Walvis Bay off southwestern Africa, also have abundant sea life. Herring, anchovy, sardine, cod, flounder, and perch are the most important commercial species. Tuna is taken off northwestern Africa and northeastern South America in increasing numbers. The catch per unit area is much higher in the Atlantic than in the other oceans.

A remarkable example of plant life is found in the Sargasso Sea, the oval section of the North Atlantic lying between the West Indies and the Azores and bounded on the west and north by the Gulf Stream. Here extensive patches of brown gulfweed (Sargassum) are found on the relatively still surface waters.

Actively mined mineral resources in the Atlantic include titanium, zircon, and monazite (phosphates of the cerium metals), off the eastern coast of Florida, and tin and iron ore, off the equatorial coast of Africa. The continental shelves and slopes of the Atlantic are potentially very rich in fossil fuels. Large amounts of petroleum are already being extracted in the North Sea and in the Caribbean Sea-Gulf of Mexico region; lesser amounts are extracted off the coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea.

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