Interesting facts about the Atlantic Ocean

atlantic ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is located between Africa, Europe, the Arctic Ocean, the Americas and the Southern Ocean.

It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth‘s surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area.

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, following only the Pacific.

The equator subdivides it into the North Atlantic ocean and South Atlantic Ocean.

atlantic ocean map

The Atlantic Ocean covers an area of approximately 106,460,000 square kilometers (41,100,000 square miles).

The Atlantic Ocean has a volume of 310,410,900 cubic kilometers (74,471,500 cubic miles).

The average depth of the Atlantic 3,646 meters (11,962 feet).

ocean underwater

The greatest depth, 8,486 meters (27,841 feet), is in the Puerto Rico Trench.

Surface water temperatures, which vary with latitude, current systems, and season and reflect the latitudinal distribution of solar energy, range from below −2°C (28°F) to over 30°C (86°F). Maximum temperatures occur north of the equator, and minimum values are found in the polar regions.

The Atlantic has irregular coasts indented by numerous bays, gulfs, and seas. These include the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caribbean Sea, Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, part of the Drake Passage, Gulf of Mexico, Labrador Sea, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, almost all of the Scotia Sea, and other tributary water bodies. Including these marginal seas the coastline of the Atlantic measures 111,866 kilometers (69,510 miles).

atlantic ocean coastline

In total there are 52 different nations that have shorelines along this ocean. This includes nations in Africa, Europe, North America and South America.

Islands in the Atlantic are mostly of volcanic origin. The Atlantic has relatively few islands, with the greatest concentration found in the Caribbean region.

Greenland at 2,166,086 square kilometers (836,330 square miles) is the largest island in the world and is located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic Ocean causes the highest tides in the world, which occur in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. At some times of the year the difference between high and low tide in this Bay is 16.3 meters (53.5 feet).

bay of fundy

There is an underwater mountain range in the Atlantic Ocean called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR). It runs from northeast of Greenland to southwest of the Cape of Good Hope in Africa. This underwater mountain chain runs for almost 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles), only breaking the surface of the ocean in a few spots.

In the South Atlantic the wide expanse of ocean between the tips of South Africa and South America generates huge waves and continuous strong winds, known as the “Roaring Forties“.

Icebergs are common from February to August in the Davis Strait, Denmark Strait, and the northwestern Atlantic and have been spotted as far south as Bermuda and Madeira.

atlantic ocean iceberg

Atlantic Ocean was the first ocean to be crossed by ship and airplane.

It was during 1850s that the Cunard Line began carrying passengers across the Atlantic.

In 1919, the American NC-4 became the first airplane to cross the Atlantic (but in multiple stages). Later that year, a British Vickers Vimy piloted by Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland.

In 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight in an airplane (between New York City and Paris).

Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928.

A triangular area in Atlantic Ocean, called the Bermuda Triangle, is held responsible for mysterious shipwrecks, disappearances and air crashes. (the apexes of the triangle are Bermuda, Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico).

bermuda triangle

Benoît Lecomte (born 1967) is a French-born long distance swimmer (now a naturalized citizen of the U.S.A.) who has received wide credit for being the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kick board in 1998, though this has not been recognised by the Guinness World Records.

The first successful telegraph cable was laid under Atlantic Ocean in 1866, by the Great Eastern, the then world’s largest ship.

Titanic sank in Atlantic Ocean in 1912, after being hit by an iceberg on her maiden voyage to America.

The Atlantic Ocean contains some of the most heavily traveled routes between the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

Economic activity in the Atlantic ocean includes fishing, dredging for argonite sands and the production of oil and natural gas.

The word ’Atlantic’ originates from the Greek mythology meaning ‘Sea of Atlas’. Atlas was the titan who had to stand on the edge of the Earth and carry the heavens (celestial spheres) on his shoulders as punishment from Zeus as Atlas had fought against the Olympian gods for the control of the heavens.

The oldest known mention of “Atlantic” is by Herodotus in his The Histories of around 450 BC.

In modern times, some idioms refer to the ocean in a humorously diminutive way as “the Pond“, describing both the geographical and cultural divide between North America and Europe, in particular between the English-speaking nations of both continents. Many Irish or British people refer to the United States and Canada as “across the pond”, and vice versa.