sea : What are the seven seas?

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sea  – In terms of geography, seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet. Typically, seas are partially enclosed by land.

 

Seas are found on the margins of the ocean and are partially enclosed by land. Here, you can see that the Bering Sea is part of the Pacific Ocean.

Many people use the terms “ocean” and “sea” interchangeably when speaking about the ocean, but there is a difference between the two terms when speaking of geography (the study of the Earth’s surface).

Seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet. Typically, seas are partially enclosed by land.

The Sargasso Sea is an exception. It is defined only by ocean currents.

What are the 7 seas names?

The Seven Seas include the Arctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans. The exact origin of the phrase ‘Seven Seas’ is uncertain, although there are references in ancient literature that date back thousands of years.

Interesting Sea Facts:

  • The largest sea is the Bering Sea at 876,000 sq. miles or 2,270,000 sq. kilometers.
  • The saltiest sea in the world is the Red Sea with 41 parts of salt per 1,000 parts of water.
  • The warmest sea in the world is the Red Sea, where temperatures range from 68 degrees to 87.8 degrees F depending upon which part you measure.
  • The coldest seas are found near the poles such as the Greenland, Barents, Beaufort, Kara, Laptev and East Siberian Seas found near the north pole and Weddell and Ross Seas found in the south poles. The Baltic Sea is also considered one of the coldest seas.
  • Depending upon the amount of salt in the water, sea water freezes at about 28 degrees F. High salt content lowers the temperature for freezing and low salt content raises the temperature for freezing.

Question

What are the seven seas? search by image

Answer
There is no definitive answer to this question. The phrase is a figure of speech and has been used to refer to different bodies of water at various times and places.

Greece and the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Taken by a member of the Expedition 55 crew aboard the International Space Station on April 2,  2018. NASA.
Some ancient civilizations used the phrase “seven seas” to describe the bodies of water known at that time. The ancient Romans called the lagoons separated from the open sea near Venice the septem maria or seven seas. Most current sources state that “seven seas” referred to the Indian Ocean, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea.

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Chart of the Mediterranean Sea, 1817.  Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress
Not all geographers agree on this list of seven, believing that the seven seas reference will be different depending upon the part of the world and the time period in question.

Some geographers point to the Age of Discovery and suggest that the seven seas represent the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Other geographers state that the seven seas were the Mediterranean and Red Seas, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, China Sea, and the West and East African Seas.

sea

Walruses among the ice floes in the Bering Sea. Lomen Brothers, photographers, between 1900 and 1930.  Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Today we recognize more than 50 seas worldwide. It is defined as a division of the ocean which is enclosed or partially enclosed by land. With that said, the Caspian Sea, Dead Sea, and Aral Sea are actually saltwater lakes, because they lack an outlet to the ocean. Conversely, by this definition, the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay are seas.

sea

Clifford McGinnis and a sign illustrating the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean, between 1944-1946.   Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, National Park Service, NP Gallery

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