Two third of the earth is covered by water. Because of the tectonic movement in the past, the lands are separated from each other and is linked by the sea. The biggest part of the sea is the ocean. Ocean is a geographically divided large part of the sea. Ocean mostly separate a continent with another.
There are 5 major oceans on the earth which are Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, Indian, and Southern. Each of the ocean occupy its own geographic division such as various ocean coast or characteristics of ocean gyres. For the Atlantic ocean, it makes up the entire sea in the North Atlantic to South Atlantic areas. Atlantic ocean is also has its own distinct or unique characteristics that differentiate it from the rest of the ocean.
- Elongated S-Shaped Basin
Atlantic ocean has elongated basin that resemble the shape of letter S. The letter S is formed do to the wide spread proportion of the sea body in vertical shape. While Pacific or Indian mostly spread horizontally, Atlantic run across Europe to Africa in which the trail leave a S shape.
Atlantic ocean is also the biggest ocean that surround the Europe. The shape of continent is the biggest contributor why it has S shape.
- 20 Percent of The Entire Water on Earth
Another characteristic of Atlantic ocean is, it makes up 20 percent of the entire water on the earth. This fact makes this ocean the second largest ocean after Pacific. The sea water that occupies the ocean also vary due to the widespread geography. In the northern Atlantic that is closer to the Arctic, there is some of the frozen ice as continuation from the north pole and Arctic ocean.
Whereas the Southern Atlantic tend to be warmer especially the one that is almost crossing the zero equator zone. This makes Atlantic ocean unique or distinctive because it does not have uniform characteristic.
- Largest Drainage Area
Atlantic ocean is not the biggest and still tailing behind Pacific, however, it has the largest drainage area. Drainage area is the area in which precipitation is being hold and distributed to lake, river and other water area. Being the largest drainage area also means that the water from various sites eventually nd up in Atlantic Ocean.
The reason why Atlantic has the largest drainage area despite not being the biggest ocean itself is because it surrounds various climate coverage from northern to southern as well as having multi lands and continents surround it.
- Rich of Coastline
The Southern Atlantic is rich of coastline as it flows across many countries and continents. The coastline includes The Sea Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, west Baltic African coastline. This makes Atlantic ocean homes of many marine species and other richness that is beneficial to human life. To knowmore about marine life, read Types of Ocean Habitats.
The rich coastline only applies to the Southern Atlantic as the Northern one is close to the north polar that the coastline mostly is covered with ice.
- Separates Old World from The New World
The term old world and new world is to differentiate between Asia, Europe, and Africa as old world with America and Oceania as new world. This is the distinct characteristic of Atlantic ocean in which its scope is wide from the north pole. The history of Atlantic ocean is traced back to the history of the earth.
The earth was once interrelated and because of the tectonic movement, the land broke apart and created continent. The gap left then is filled with the water. In this case, Atlantic ocean fills up the border between old world and new world.
6. Rich Sea Level Variations
Since the ocean is spread across the continent, the sea level of the ocean differs from each place. The characteristics of ocean levels in the marine area differs depend on the ecosystem it has and the topological of the inner sea. The deep sea is usually in the part of the ocean that is the farthest from the land.
While for the tide and waves, sea that is closer to the shore usually is more unstable compared to the still sea in the middle. As Atlantic spread wide, the sea level for each geographical location will be different.
7. No Middle Coast
Atlantic ocean is the one that does have coast in the middle of the majority of the water. the coastlines are all lined up on the side of the main body of the ocean. Thus, Atlantic ocean may not the largest but it is the one with the most volume.
- Surrounded by Passive Margin
Divided into north and south Atlantic with middle one as the intersection between the two halves, Atlantic ocean is surrounded by passive margin. A passive margin is the transition between oceanic and continental lithosphere that does not have active plate.
The passive margin does not consist of active tectonic plate but is made of sedimental material that durther developed above the continental rift. Thus, it is different from Pacific and Indian ocean that is surrounded by active margin instead
- Submarine Mountain Range
The bathymetry of the ocean is dominated by submarine mountain range. The submarine mountain range in Atlantic ocean is called MAR; stands for Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge has length of 300 km running from south pole to the subantarctic of Bouvet island.
The MAR has height of 2-3 km rises from above the ocean floor. The rift valley is a border between Eurasian and North American plates in the Northern Atlantic and African to South American plates’ border. (Related to Characteristics of Oceanic Plates).
- Several Submarine Canyons
The ocean floor topography is rich with natural sites. Among the most sites found in Atlantic ocean are submarince canyons. Submarine canyon is a canyon occurs within the sea or on the ocean floor.
The submarine canyons mostly are found in the Northern America, western Europe, and western Africa. This means, majority of Atlantic ocean is rich of marine assets.
- Coriolis Effect
Both northern and southern Atlantic have Coriolis Effect. Coriolis effect is a deflection effect of the objects with moving color reflection. In the northern Atlantic, the effect circulates in clockwise direction while in the southern Atlantic it is circulating in counter clockwise.
Coriolis effect is a beautiful phenomenon to see and with Atlantic ocean having it, it makes the ocean even more unique.
- Saltiest Major Ocean
Another distinct characteristic of Atlantic ocean is it is described as the saltiest ocean. It is because most of the coordination where Atlantic ocean is in the upscale or downscale of the earth. Only the northern equator has less salinity due to frequent rain fall.
The percentage of the salinity of ocean water in Atlantic ocean ranges from 3.3 to 3.7 percent. The part where it has the highest salinity is in the coordinate 25. The salinity also influenced by the fact that it is the largest drainage area where we precipitation mostly occurs.
- Distinct Temperature
As the ocean is large and divided into different geographical climate, the temperature of the sea differs from each other. The ocean is divided into four major division. The first is subarctic upper water with relatively colder temperature. The second is the northern subatlantic that has cold to lukewarm temperature. The third is rhe eastern rhat is saltier and warmer as it is in the northern of equator. The last division is the south atlantic water with relatively cold to lukewarm temperature.
- Sargasso Sea
The north Atlantic is the area where a unique marine ecosystem exists. It is called as Sargasso sea. Sargasso sea is located in the western northern Atlantic. It is known for its endemic species, sargassum fish. Sargassum fish is a predator with enigmatic history. The descendant of it remain mysterious. It has the algae like shape and found among the numerous seaweed in Atlantic ocean.
Sargassum fish can only be found in Sargasso sea. In this sea also, the species tend to be in the boneless kind of marine organisms which then lead scientists to further study the endemic.
- Three Stage History
The very first history of why Atlantic ocean is formed is through the three stage of plate movement in the lithosphere. The first is when the one and only continent Pangaea broke in the central Atlantic. It was initiated by the magmatic eruption that break up the central of Pangaea. It then form central Atlantic.
The second stage is the history of northern Atlantic. It is formed by the two of conjugate margins. These margins are Newfoundland and Iberia. The sea interacts with the glacier in north pole, further expanding thr sea. As for the third stage, it formed the southern Atlantic. South Atlantic is formed because the West Gondwana was broken up. West Gondwana itself is between America and Africa.
Other characteristics of Atlantic ocean are:
- Potentially developing embryonic subducted margin
- Greenland located in Atlantic ocean
- Jurassic Park born
- Huge wave Roaring Fourties in Southern Atlantic
- Home of largest barrier reef, Cancun Reef
- Underwater mountain range in North Atlantic
- Home of Bermuda Triangle
- Home of the extinct Coelacanth
- 6.5 times bigger than United States
- Home of endangeres species: whale, albatross, ghost crab, and sea turkr.
- Has well-known waterways of The Straits of Gibraltar
- The average depth of Atlantic ocean is 10,000 feet.
- Rich of gas deposit and natural petroleum
- Borders 91 countries in total
- The deepest point is located in Puerto Rico
Atlantic ocean may be the youngest ocean among others, but it certainly bear many distinction that differs it from the rest. Indeed, there are 30 characteristics of Atlantic ocean.