Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea that is connected to the Atlantic Ocean enclosed by the Mediterranean region and almost totally surrounded by land: by Europe and Anatolia on the north, North Africa to the south, and Levant on the east. The sea is occasionally considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it’s often identified as a totally separate body of water.

The name Mediterranean comes from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning “inland” or “in the middle of the land”. It blankets approximately 965,000 sq miles, but the connection to the Atlantic is only 8.7 miles wide. In oceanography, it’s occasionally called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from the Mediterranean seas elsewhere.

The average depth of the Mediterranean Sea is 4,900 ft and the deepest documented point is 17,280 ft in the Calypso Deep in the lonian Sea.

It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar in the west and to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, by the Dardanelles and the Bosporus correspondingly, in the east. Some large islands in the Mediterranean Sea include Cyprus, Euboea, Crete, Lesbos, Rhodes, Kefalonia, Corfu, Chios, Limnos, Naxos, Samos, and Andros in the eastern Mediterranean; Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, Cres, Krk, Hvar, Pag, Brac, Korcula and Malta in the central Mediterranean; and Ibiza, Minorca, Majorca in the western Mediterranean.

The archetypal climate within the Mediterranean has hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Crops of the region include oranges, cork, tangerines, grapes and olives.

The Mediterranean’s geologic history is complicated. It was involved in the tectonic break-up and then a following collision of the African and Eurasian plates.

Due to the latitudinal location and its land-locked configuration, the Mediterranean is particularly sensitive to astronomically induced climatic variations, which are well reported in its sedimentary record.

Image Caption: Map in English of the Mediterranean Sea, with the borders and the name of the States following the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-3 code. Credit: Eric Gaba/Wikipedia