The Caribbean Sea is nowhere near being the largest sea in the world, but it is still very deep! It is a unique sea with lots of wildlife, over 7,000 islands, and thousands of miles of coral reefs. But how deep is the Caribbean Sea, and what mysterious creatures lurk there? Keep reading to find out!
What is The Average Depth of the Caribbean Sea?
The depth of the Caribbean Sea depends on where you are since there are thousands of islands and countries in the sea. The average depth of the Caribbean Sea is approximately 7,220 feet below the sea’s surface. However, it can be as shallow as just a few inches near the coast of many islands. The Caribbean Sea is also massive, with an area of 1,063,000 square miles.
What is the Maximum Depth of the Caribbean Sea?
While the Caribbean Sea may sound never-ending, there is a maximum depth. So far, scientists have discovered that the maximum depth of the Caribbean Sea is 25,217 feet. The deepest point in the Caribbean sea is the Cayman Trough between Jamaica and Cuba. The area is so deep; that the temperatures reach near freezing levels. The Cayman Trough, also known as the Bartlett Deep, is an interesting point in the sea because it sits on multiple tectonic plates, including the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate.
It is not easy to find information about the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, which is why in 2010, a UK group of researchers from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (NOCS) used a robot to map out the trench. During this mission, they discovered extremely hot black smokers at the deepest point yet (3.1 miles). Two years later, they revisited the research and found a new shrimp species.
What Animals Live in the Deep Caribbean Sea?
The Caribbean Sea has a diverse and rich ecosystem. So far, at least 12,046 species have been reported in this sea. Deep sea creatures are still a mystery to most of us since they rarely visit shallow waters. In the deep Caribbean Sea are multiple animals with limited vision and glow-in-the-dark scales. The most common deep Caribbean Sea animals are comb jellies, deep-sea dragonfish, and rattail fish.
Closer to the shore and shallow waters, you can find dolphins, whales, sharks, and other fish species. Since there are multiple large coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, it is no surprise that marine life is so diverse! You can find many types of corals in the Caribbean Sea, like the great star coral, mustard hill coral, and massive starlet coral.
Is the Caribbean Sea Deeper than the Atlantic Ocean?
Trying to understand the differences and boundaries between multiple oceans and seas is difficult. While some people believe the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean are the same, this is only partially true. The Caribbean Sea is part of the Atlantic Ocean. Technically, the Caribbean Sea is a suboceanic basin of the Atlantic Ocean. Right now, there is a debate over how many oceans exist. The original thought was four, but some people count the Antarctic Ocean as one.
Just by a few thousand feet, the Atlantic Ocean is deeper than the Caribbean Sea. Interestingly, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean is close to the Cayman Trough. The Puerto Rico Trench, located just north of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 27,480 feet deep. Did you know that an explorer once traveled to the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench in a private mission? Victor Vescovo used his private submersible, the Limiting Factor, to reach the bottom of the trench safely. He also traveled to the deepest point in the world, Mariana’s trench.
Fun Facts About the Caribbean Sea
- At least 9% of all coral reefs in the world are found in the Caribbean Sea.
- In the Caribbean Sea, piracy was very rampant during the 1500s and 1600s.
- 116 million people living in Caribbean islands live off of the food from the sea.
- Within the sea, you can find large mammals like dolphins, humpback whales, and sperm whales.
- The sea vents in the Cayman Trough reach up to 400 Celsius (752 Fahrenheit).
Where is the Caribbean Sea Located on a Map?
The Caribbean Sea is a tropical sea within the Atlantic Ocean, situated in the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the west and southwest by Mexico and Central America, to the north by the Greater Antilles, including Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the northern coast of South America.
Here is the Caribbean Sea located on a map:
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com
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