Geography-wise and water-wise, The Gulf of Mexico is a very unique spot. There is sea life you won’t see elsewhere — and here are some facts you many not know that may surprise you. Check it out:
SOMETHING ABOUT SIZE
- Did you know that the entire area of the Gulf is over 600,000 square miles and that the longest distance going across the Gulf is about 1,000 miles going from east to west?
- And the smallest distance across the Gulf of Mexico is nearly 500 miles between the Mississippi Delta and the end of the Yucatan Peninsula.
- The mainland shore of the Gulf extends over 4,000 miles, from the Florida Keys to Cabo Catoche, at the northwestern point of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
- Did you know that the Gulf of Mexico is actually a semi-enclosed, partly land-locked, intercontinental, marginal sea in itself. Like the Mediterranean Sea!
- Sigsbee Deep is the deepest part of the Gulf with a depth of over 12,000 feet. That’s deep! And it’s over 300 miles long. It’s been called the “Grand Canyon under the sea.”
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
- The origin of the Gulf’s geology remains largely unknown. Some theories propose that the Gulf is an ocean-flooded continental crust. Some say it’s an ocean basin that’s been subjected to rifting. Some theories claim that the Gulf is ancient sea that has been around countless eons since the continents formed one land mass. Will we ever really know?
WHAT DOES IT DO?
- The Gulf of Mexico is a link to ports based in five southern states (Louisiana and Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida) and six Mexican states (Vera Cruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, Tamaulipas, and Quintana Roo) along with the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
The most northern tropical coral reefs in the United States (The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary) has
60% of the drains in the United States drains that flow in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Coastal wetlands of the Gulf make up over five million acres (nearly half of the national total) and serve as a very important habitat for 75 percent of the migrating waterfowl that fly across the United States — along with millions of fish and various other wildlife species.
- Attempts to re-engineer the Mississippi River has accidentally lowered the flow of sediment to the Gulf coast by over half and forced much of that sediment out of wetlands to deep water. Diversion projects could reverse this decline, however. If we are lucky!
- Some estimate that at least half of the Gulf of Mexico’s coastal and inland wetlands dried up and died, that at least 80% of the Gulf sea grasses have been lost. Bad news.
- The Gulf of Mexico is a home to 24 threatened and endangered species or crucial species’ habitats.
So let’s work to keep the Gulf healthy!