Facts about Gulf of Mexico

26 Gulf of Mexico facts

The largest gulf on Earth

The Gulf Of Mexico is the ninth-largest water basin in the world. It has an impressive biodiverse ecosystem that attracts masses of tourists every year, but on the other hand, it attracts hurricanes like no other water tank. It is one of the most favorable diving destinations.

Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean.
It borders Cuba, Mexico, and five states of the U.S.–Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
It covers an area of approximately 1,6 million square kilometers.
It is the largest gulf in the world.
It formed approximately 300 million years ago in the Late Triassic.
The Gulf ecosystem had been explored in the late 1990s and 2000s.
It was discovered by European explorer Amerigo Vespucci in 1497.
The average depth of the gulf is 1,6 kilometers.
The deepest part of the Gulf is the Sigsbee Deep, which is estimated at 4,4 kilometers.
33 major rivers flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
They are, for instance, the Mississippi River, the Rio Grande, the Grijalva River, or the Usumacinta River.
The Gulf of Mexico is surrounded by approximately 6,076 kilometers of beaches.
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the world’s largest and most important offshore petroleum.
It supports approximately 17%-25% of U.S. domestic oil production. The first oil well was drilled in 1938.
There are approximately 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf.
There were several oil spills in the region, the most severe being the Ixtoc I oil spill in 1979 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
A brine pool, 1,000 meters below the gulf’s surface, was discovered in 2014.
It is 3,7 meters deep, with a circumference of 30 meters. Its salinity is about five times higher than the rest of the water, and thus it is unable to sustain any form of life, apart from bacteria, tubeworms, and a few kinds of shrimp. It is known as the Hot Tub of Despair.
There are several coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists conclude that black corals found in the Gulf of Mexico may be one of the oldest organisms on Earth, being over 2,000 years old.
The Florida Reef is the only coral barrier in the continental U.S.
It is also the third-largest continental coral reef system in the world, spanning 576 kilometers.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to a vast number of species.
The marine life of the gulf consists of more than 51 species of sharks (such as tiger sharks, lemon sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks, or blacktip sharks), over 1443 fish species (including bluefish, albacore tuna, and groupers), and about 49 species of rays (such as stingrays, manta rays, or the cownose rays) and skates, 29 species of marine mammals (including blue whales, humpbacks, killer whales, sperm whales, Bryde’s whales, bottlenose dolphins). Apart from that, it also supports sea turtles (such as the hawksbills, loggerheads, green turtles, leatherbacks, or Kemp’s ridleys), manatees (like West Indian manatees), and a wide variety of native and migrating birds.
It is estimated that approximately 2,5 million migratory birds rest daily on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
The coral reefs of the Gulf are inhabited by rare variants of algae and fungi.
The basin is also suitable for a large number of mollusks that thrive along the coastline.
Most of the seafood consumed in both North and South America comes from the Gulf.
The most diverse group inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico is dragonfish.
There are over 80 species living in the Gulf, like the Ribbon sawtail fish, or the Threadfin dragonfish.
Due to the high pollution of the Gulf, partially associated with oil spills, many species previously found in the Gulf have now become extinct.
The Gulf of Mexico is a large shipwreck graveyard.
Over 750 known shipwrecks can be found on the gulf’s bottom, the earliest dating back to the 16th century.

One of the most recently discovered shipwrecks of an unknown origin, named the Mardi Gras, was discovered during an oilfield inspection in 2002. After a thorough inspection of the items pulled out of the shipwreck, scientists believe it is a vessel from the early 19th century.
It is one of the most popular diving destinations.
The Gulf of Mexico is notorious for hurricanes.
The Gulf is both warmer and shallower than the Atlantic Ocean, which prevents cooling off the surface waters and thus leads to increased hurricane activity.

One of the most devastating was Hurricane Katrina in 2005–a category 5 Atlantic hurricane, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017–a category 4 Atlantic hurricane, both of which caused US$125 billion in damage.
The Gulf of Mexico was a prevailing trade route of the Mayans and Incans.
The Gulf Stream, originating from the Gulf of Mexico, is one of the strongest currents in the world.
The Gulf of Mexico supports four major industries: fishing, oil, shipping, and tourism.
Tourism alone generates over $100 billion in income each year.
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