Gulf of Mexico Facts

Gulf of Mexico Facts
The Gulf of Mexico is 810 nautical mile wide ocean basin almost surrounded by North America's continent. It is bordered to the north, northwest, and northeast by the United States Gulf Coast. It is bordered by Mexico to its south and southwest, and Cuba to its southeast. The Gulf of Mexico is believed to have formed roughly 300 million years ago, and its floor is made up of sedimentary rock. The Gulf's basin is roughly 615,000 square miles and contains approximately 660 quadrillion US gallons of water. The first European to reach the Gulf of Mexico was Amerigo Vespucci, who arrived in 1497.
Interesting Gulf of Mexico Facts:
The Gulf of Mexico was created in the Late Triassic period when continental plates collided and the floor later sunk.
Roughly half of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are shallow, covering the continental shelves.
There is a trough in the Gulf of Mexico that reaches 14,383 feet deep. This is called the Sigsbee Deep.
There are 33 major rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico.
There are 207 estuaries that empty into the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitats of the Gulf of Mexico include 5 million acres of wetlands in the offshore areas, uplands, and submerged vegetation.
The Gulf of Mexico's coastal wetland encompasses 28% of the U.S. wetlands.
The Gulf of Mexico is a major crossing for migratory birds. Approximately 2.5 million migratory birds land in Louisiana during migratory season. This totals hundreds of millions crossing the Gulf of Mexico each season.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to 29 marine mammal species including the West Indian manatee, sperm whales, minke whales, bottlenose dolphins, and humpback whales.
There are five threatened or endangered sea turtle species found in the Gulf of Mexico including leatherback sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.
The Gulf Coast is home to at least 49 shark species including bull sharks, silky sharks, tiger sharks, thresher sharks, lemon sharks, and oceanic whitetip sharks.
Manatees that can be found in the Gulf of Mexico can reach up to 12 feet in length. They can weigh over 1,500 pounds but the population is declining.
The Florida Reef Tract in the Gulf of Mexico is 358 miles long. Florida is the only state on the continent to have coastal reef formations.
An oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 when a platform sank after an explosion roughly 50 miles from Louisiana. It was estimated that 5,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico each day until they were able to stop it.
It is estimated that 25% of the oil in the United States comes from the Gulf of Mexico region.
The largest river to feed into the Gulf of Mexico is the Mississippi River.
Fishing is an important industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Shrimp and oysters are popular species to be fished from the gulf.
It is estimated that by 2025 the population of the states in the Gulf of Mexico region will reach 60 million.

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