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Red Sea

Red Sea
Red Sea topographic map-en.jpg
Coordinates 22°N 38°E / 22°N 38°E / 22; 38Coordinates: 22°N 38°E / 22°N 38°E / 22; 38
Max. length 2,250 km (1,400 mi)
Max. width 355 km (221 mi)
Surface area 438,000 km2 (169,000 sq mi)
Average depth 490 m (1,610 ft)
Max. depth 2,211 m (7,254 ft)
Water volume 233,000 km3 (56,000 cu mi)

The Red Sea (also the Erythraean Sea) is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. To the north lie the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal). The Red Sea is a Global 200 ecoregion. The sea is underlain by the Red Sea Rift which is part of the Great Rift Valley.

The Red Sea has a surface area of roughly 438,000 km2 (169,100 mi2), is about 2250 km (1398 mi) long and, at its widest point, 355 km (220.6 mi) wide. It has a maximum depth of 2211 m (7254 ft) in the central median trench, and an average depth of 490 m (1,608 ft). However, there are also extensive shallow shelves, noted for their marine life and corals. The sea is the habitat of over 1,000 invertebrate species, and 200 soft and hard corals. It is the world's northernmost tropical sea.

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Red Sea as follows:

Red Sea is a direct translation of the Greek Erythra Thalassa (Ερυθρὰ Θάλασσα), Latin Mare Rubrum (alternatively Sinus Arabicus, literally "Arabian Gulf"), Arabic: البحر الأحمر‎, translit. Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar‎ (alternatively بحر القلزم Baḥr Al-Qulzum, literally "the Sea of Clysma"), Somali Badda Cas and Tigrinya Qeyyiḥ bāḥrī (ቀይሕ ባሕሪ). The name of the sea may signify the seasonal blooms of the red-coloured Trichodesmium erythraeum near the water's surface. A theory favored by some modern scholars is that the name red is referring to the direction south, just as the Black Sea's name may refer to north. The basis of this theory is that some Asiatic languages used color words to refer to the cardinal directions.Herodotus on one occasion uses Red Sea and Southern Sea interchangeably.


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