The sea and people
The sea covers 71% at present of the earths surface, some expect with global warming this to greatly increase taking up an area occupied at present by at least 20% of the world population. If the full polar ice and glaciers were to melt, it would cause the sea to rise by 200 ft and submerge half the population.
The Atlantic ocean is said to cover 41.3 million sq miles or 107 million sq kilometers, it is smaller than the Pacific which is 68.5m sq mls (180m sq km), but larger than the Indian ocean that is 28.6m sq mls (74m sq km).
The deepest parts of the sea are around 5 times the height of the highest land, and if the surface was smoothed out so that the earth was a complete ball we would all be under very deep water. The average depth of the sea now is 12,000 ft 3,600 meters
As you leave the continental shelf, and enter the Atlantic the water becomes very deep, around 13,000 feet (4km) but running in a curved shape from north to south down the center is a ridge of mountains that comes above the surface in the Azores and Iceland. This ridge of underwater mountains several miles high are around a 1000 miles wide. There are a number of other smaller ridges as well, often called seamounts.
Most islands in the Atlantic as well as most seamounts are the remains of old volcanoes. Many thousands of years ago, the sea was considerably lower and at that time more land would have been visible, especially on the continental shelves, around land.
There is thought to be really large petroleum reserves at the edges of continental shelves where material has tipped down over time. In deep ocean or around seamounts this is unlikely. If a new country was located over these deposits it is likely their would be resistance from existing states who would claim to own it, or more likely they would claim the new floating islands were their territory.
The floor of the deep Atlantic is mainly clear, made of 60% red mud, 25% sand, and 15% rock, gravel and shells. Shallower areas are coated with the shells collected over time. Seamounts and islands containing rock caused by volcanic action and some like the Bermuda islands are coral growth over an old collapsed volcano.
Wind is predominantly from the south, and the effect of the earth spinning causes a drift east, combined we get a small current drift through our area of interest to the north east.
It is thought that cold deep water at the bottom of the ocean may flow in a southerly direction, the exact direction is not very clear, nor the effect of seamounts on the deep flow. The Arctic ocean is very cold, with a surface temperature near freezing, but a very high salt content. When it mixes with the Atlantic water it has a higher density causing it (about 86 cubic miles a day) to sink to the bottom and move south. Some ridges may limit how much of this moves a long way south. Much of it rising between 50 and 60 degrees latitude, bringing up a a large amount of material that makes the northern part of the Atlantic so productive.
Continue at 'On a line' above
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