The Mediterranean Sea is the beautiful body of water located between Southern Europe and North Africa. It is the subject of many tourist adventures and romance novels, and sometimes it is the focus of a fun list of interesting Mediterranean Sea facts. Here are 15 wonderful facts about the Mediterranean Sea.
Facts about the Mediterranean Sea:
- The Mediterranean borders 22 different countries. With such a large area it is no wonder that the Mediterranean borders so many countries. The complete list of these countries is Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.
- Two different island nations exist within the sea. Both the countries of Cyprus and Malta are located entirely within the Mediterranean.
- There are over 3,000 islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The actual number of islands in the Mediterranean Sea is highly debated. Most estimates put the total at over 3,000. Some sources even claim that total is closer to 3,500.
- Its two largest islands are Italian. As previously mentioned, the Mediterranean Sea has over 3,000 islands. Many of these are extremely tiny while others are quite large. The two biggest islands located within the Mediterranean Sea (in terms of both size and population) are the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
- The Mediterranean is made up of many smaller seas. The Mediterranean Sea contains various subdivisions of seas within it that are all much smaller in size. Among the most well-known of these seas are the Alboran Sea, the Balearic Sea, the Ligurian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Aegean Sea.
- Over 15 million people live there. There are tens of millions of people who live along coastal settlements on the Mediterranean Sea, but an additional 15 million people live on the islands actually located within the Mediterranean.
- It was filled in under 2 years. Based on the massive size of the Mediterranean Sea, it might seem unfathomable that it was created in less than two years. However, the results of scientific studies have shown that an ancient flood filled the area in that little of time.
- The Mediterranean is over 5 million years old. The Mediterranean Sea is not quite old enough to remember the dinosaurs, but it is still really old. A massive flood that occurred about 5.33 million years ago created what is now known as the Mediterranean Sea.
- There are 3.7 million cubic kilometres of water. There is more than a cup or two that is for sure. It is estimated that there are approximately 3.7 million cubic kilometres of water within the Mediterranean Sea.
- The Romans controlled it for 400 years. Although the Mediterranean Sea has been fought over by many different nations throughout history, at one point the Roman Empire controlled the entirety of it for about 400 years.
- The water is much darker than normal. The Mediterranean Sea has become iconic for many things, one of which is its abnormally dark blue waters. The sea lacks many nutrients that lead to plant growth, meaning it appears darker than the average ocean waters and produces an instantly recognizable color.
- There are very few tides. Unlike other extremely large bodies of water, the Mediterranean Sea has very limited tides. This is due to the area being almost entirely landlocked and only being connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar.
- Its name means “Center of the Earth”. The name “Mediterranean” comes from two Latin words “Medius” (Middle) and “Terra” (Earth as in soil). To the ancient Romans, the Mediterranean was the center of the Earth as they knew it.
- The East is saltier than the West. Due to an increase in evaporation level on the East side of the Mediterranean Sea compared to the West side, the East has lower water levels and has led to a higher salt concentration in the water.
- The average depth is 4,900 feet. Like all bodies of water, the Mediterranean Sea varies in its depth. However, the average depth of it has been recorded as being 4,900 feet.
- The Mediterranean once went completely dry. It is hard to believe that such a large body of water could completely disappear, but that is exactly what recent research suggests. It’s believed that about 6 million years ago the Messinian Salinity Crisis caused the Mediterranean Sea to temporarily disappear for a few hundred thousand years. That flood mentioned earlier is ultimately what refilled it.