Major Straits of the World
- A strait is a narrow body of water that connects two larger bodies of water.
- It may be formed by a fracture in an isthmus, it can also be caused by Tectonic shifts.
- If fractures in an isthmus are created by human activity, the straits are usually called canals.
- An example of a strait that was formed by tectonic activity is the Strait of Gibraltar.
Straits of Atlantic Ocean:
Strait of Gibraltar
- The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates the Iberian Peninsula in Europe from Morocco in Africa.
- The two continents are separated by 13 kilometres of ocean at the Strait’s narrowest point between Point Marroquí in Spain and Point Cires in Morocco.
- The strait lies in the territorial waters of Morocco, Spain, and the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
- Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, foreign vessels and aircraft have the freedom of navigation and overflight to cross the strait of Gibraltar in case of continuous transit.
- The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jabal Ṭāriq.
- It was historically known as Fretum Herculeum or Pillars of Hercules based on the myth of Hercules.
Strait of Magellan
- The Strait of Magellan is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south.
- The strait is considered the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
- It was discovered and first traversed by the Spanish expedition of Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, after whom it is named.
- Prior to this, the strait had been navigated by canoe-faring indigenous peoples including the Kawésqar.
- The King of Spain, Emperor Charles V, who sponsored the Magellan-Elcano expedition, changed the name to the Strait of Magellan in honor of Magellan.
- The route is difficult to navigate due to frequent narrows and unpredictable winds and currents.