Facts about Mediterranean Sea

We found 19 facts about Mediterranean Sea

The only sea in the world surrounded by three continents

The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin word mediterraneus, which means "between lands." This is an excellent name for this body of water, because it is the only sea in the world surrounded by the lands of three continents. Located between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Mediterranean Sea is the seventh largest sea in the world.

The whole Mediterranean area is characterized by a specific climate, vegetation and a landscape that has been shaped by ancient civilizations that have left numerous monuments and cities that are over a thousand years old.

Mediterranean Sea
Several million years ago, a saline ocean stretched across what is now the Mediterranean Sea.

Tectonic movements in the course of millions of years led to changes in the arrangement of the continents and to the formation of seas, oceans, lakes or mountains. As a result of these movements, Africa merged with Asia, creating the first Mediterranean Sea. After some time, the isthmus connecting this body of water with the Atlantic Ocean closed. Without a constant flow of water from the ocean, this sea evaporated. This happened 6 million years ago.

In the area of today's Mediterranean Sea a gigantic salt desert was created.

It was also a depression with a depth of up to 3,000 meters. It is estimated that the salts on its surface occupied about 1 million km3, which is equivalent to 6% of all salt compounds dissolved in the oceans.

More than 5 million years ago the area of today's Gibraltar was hit by an earthquake.

As a result of the quake, a 14-kilometer-long crack formed through which water from the Atlantic Ocean began to flow onto the desert surface. This created a huge waterfall from which an estimated 100 trillion liters of water per second flow.

It took several months for the Mediterranean Sea to fill with water up to the level of the Atlantic Ocean.

The rate of rise of the water level was about 10 meters per day. If the Baltic Sea had filled at this rate, it would have been formed in about two days.

The area of the Mediterranean Sea is about 2.5 million square kilometers (965 thousand square miles).
It is an intercontinental sea.

It is situated between Europe, Africa and Asia.

The salinity of the Mediterranean Sea is 33-39 per mille.

The Dead Sea is considered the most saline body of water with a salinity of 231 per mille, which is more than six times the average salinity of the oceans.

Read facts about the Dead Sea

The average depth of the sea is 1,438 m (4,717 ft).

The greatest depth is 5,267 m (17,280 ft) - Calypso Deep - in the Ionian Sea.

There are more than 20 Mediterranean countries, most of which cooperate within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

EUROMED is a platform for cooperation between the member states of the European Union and 12 Mediterranean countries, initiated in Barcelona in 1995.

Mediterranean countries are:

Algeria, Gibraltar, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco.

The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar.

This strait separates Africa from Europe, between present-day Morocco and Ceuta (a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa) and Spain and Gibraltar (a British Overseas Territory). The strait is about 300 m deep and has a width of 14 km.

In the east, the Dardanelles connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Sea of Marmara, then through the Bosporus Strait with the Dead Sea, then through the Suez Canal with the Red Sea and further with the Indian Ocean.

The Dardanelles are located between the Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor and connect the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. They are 61 km long and 1.3-18.5 km wide. In ancient times Dardanelles were known as the Hellespont.

The International Hydrographic Office in Monaco divides the Mediterranean Sea into the western and eastern basins.

The western basin includes the Alboran, Balearic, Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas, while the eastern basin includes the Ionian, Adriatic, Aegean and Icarian Seas.

Find out more ...
There are a total of nearly 5,000 islands in the Mediterranean basin.

Their coast length is about 18,000 km, which is almost 40% of the total Mediterranean coastline. Among the islands are both the larger ones (Sicily, Crete, Cyprus, Malta, Corsica, Sardinia) and the smaller ones (Balearic and Aegean islands).

The Mediterranean countries form a region that is the cradle of the oldest civilizations and the great monotheistic religions.

The region was the birthplace of many initiatives and thoughts. From here, new directions and achievements in art and technology spread throughout the world. From here also set out the great expeditions to conquer the New World.

In the European part of the Mediterranean, hills and plateaus stretching between low mountain ranges dominate the landscape.

The coasts are rocky, interspersed with sandy beaches and bays. The plateaus there are mostly between 200 and 500 meters above sea level, with the highest and widest in central Spain.

In the Mediterranean region, millions of years of tectonic and volcanic activity are responsible for the topography of the area.

There are several active volcanoes in the region, such as Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli.

The Mediterranean region attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world every year.

The climate in this region is characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters. The water temperature of the sea reaches up to 28 °C (82 °F) in summer. The vegetation there is evergreen and characteristic bushy plant formation of the region is the maquis.

The most important ports of the Mediterranean include: Marseille, Genoa, Trieste, Venice, Naples, Cartagena, Haifa, Beirut, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Barcelona, Algiers, Tunis.
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