Amazing Places

The Sargasso Sea

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The Sargasso Sea, in the North Atlantic Ocean, is the only sea on Earth without a coastline. Really, it has absolutely no land borders. But how is this possible? Occupying an impressive two-thirds of the Atlantic Ocean, this unique body of water is surrounded not by land as you'd expect, but rather, more and more water.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Sargasso Sea occupies almost two thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean. 00:05

  2. Animals communities in the Sargasso Sea are less diverse today than the were in the 1970s. 01:01

  3. The animals in the Sargasso Sea provide essential food for long-distance migrating animals, like sea turtles and bluefin tuna. 02:22

No Land in Sight

Stretching more than one 1,000 wide and 3,000 miles long, this vast expanse of sea gets its name from a genus of seaweed called Sargassum. This free-floating algae is unique in that instead of reproducing on the ocean floor, it reproduces vegetatively on the water surface. As a result, the Sargasso Sea functions as an essential habitat for an impressive variety of marine life. 

This borderless sea is not only home to shrimp, crabs, and fish that have adapted to its floating algae, it's also a nursery for turtle hatchlings and a spawning ground for endangered eels. Annually, humpback whales, commercial fish, and a number of birds migrate through and depend on the Sargasso Sea for food. 

Unlike all other seas, the Sargasso is defined not by lands but instead by four ocean currents within the Subtropical Gyre - the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current, the Canary Current, and the North Atlantic equatorial current. As a result, the Sargasso Sea's borders are constantly changing. Looking to pass through? Keep an eye out for the North Atlantic Garbage Patch - the unmissable pile of trash trapped in the middle of the Sargasso's currents. 

Written by Curiosity Staff July 16, 2015