Atlantic Ocean Facts

Here are some facts about the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The Atlantic is the second largest ocean in the world, after the Pacific, covering about 106 million square kilometres. It makes up 30 percent of the earth’s water surface.
  • The equator splits the ocean into two sections, known as the North and South Atlantic Oceans. It is bordered by the continents of Europe, Africa and North and South America.

  • Greenland is by far the largest island in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The world’s second longest barrier reef is situated in the Atlantic off the coast of Mexico.
  • The ocean’s name comes from the legendary island of Atlantis, as described by the ancient Greek writer, Plato. The Ancient Greeks believed the Atlantic was a huge river, rather than an ocean.
  • The ocean’s average depth is about 3,340 metres. The deepest point is 8,380 metres in the Puerto Rico Trench, an ocean trench located east of the Caribbean islands.
  • During spring, the highest tides in the world occur off the coast of Canada, reaching a height of 17 metres. Huge waves and strong winds in the South Atlantic are known as the roaring forties.
  • The Viking, Leif Ericson may have been the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean, in 1000 AD.
  • In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed crossed the ocean and landed in the Caribbean.
  • In 1919, Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean., and in 1927, Charles Lindbergh made the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic.
  • The Cunard Line first carried passengers across the Atlantic in the 1850s. In the late 19th century millions of Europeans sailed across the Atlantic, emigrating to the United States and Canada.
  • The world’s richest fishing grounds are in the Atlantic Ocean and it is home to thousands of species.
  • In 1938 a coelacanth was caught in the Atlantic Ocean, which was remarkable because it was a species believed to have been extinct for 60 million years.