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Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean
Map of the Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 0°N 25°W / 0°N 25°W / 0; -25Coordinates: 0°N 25°W / 0°N 25°W / 0; -25
Basin countries List of countries, ports
Surface area 106,460,000 km2 (41,100,000 sq mi)
North Atlantic: 41,490,000 km2 (16,020,000 sq mi), South Atlantic 40,270,000 km2 (15,550,000 sq mi)
Average depth 3,646 m (11,962 ft)
Max. depth 8,486 m (27,841 ft)
Water volume 305,811,900 km3 (73,368,200 cu mi)
Shore length1 111,866 km (69,510 mi) including marginal seas
Islands List of islands
Trenches Puerto Rico; South Sandwich; Romanche
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans with a total area of about 106,460,000 square kilometres (41,100,000 sq mi). It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

The Atlantic Ocean occupies an elongated, S-shaped basin extending longitudinally between Eurasia and Africa to the east, and the Americas to the west. As one component of the interconnected global ocean, it is connected in the north to the Arctic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, the Indian Ocean in the southeast, and the Southern Ocean in the south (other definitions describe the Atlantic as extending southward to Antarctica). The Equatorial Counter Current subdivides it into the North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean at about 8°N.

Scientific explorations of the Atlantic include the Challenger expedition, the German Meteor expedition, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the United States Navy Hydrographic Office.

The oldest known mention of "Atlantic" is in The Histories of Herodotus around 450 BC (Hdt. 1.202.4): Atlantis thalassa (Greek: Ἀτλαντὶς θάλασσα; English: Sea of Atlas) where the name refers to "the sea beyond the pillars of Heracles" which is said to be part of the ocean that surrounds all land. Thus, on one hand, the name refers to Atlas, the Titan of Greek mythology, who supported the heavens and who later appeared as a frontispiece in Medieval maps and also lend his name to modern atlases. On the other hand, to early Greek sailors and in Ancient Greek mythological literature such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, this all-encompassing ocean was instead known as Oceanus, the gigantic river that encircled the world; in contrast to the enclosed seas well-known to the Greeks: the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. In contrast, the term "Atlantic" originally referred specifically to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the sea off the Strait of Gibraltar and the North African coast. The Greek word thalassa has been reused by scientists for the huge Panthalassa ocean that surrounded the supercontinent Pangaea hundreds of million years ago.


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