Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea, The, is the mass of water which separates Europe from Africa, and in its eastern part washes a comparatively small strip of the coast of Asia. Its length from Gibraltar to Syria is 2,100 miles, and its breadth varies from 500 to 250 miles. Excluding the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, the area may be reckoned at about a million square miles. At the N.E. corner of the AEgean Sea, which forms its outmost limb, a narrow passage, the Dardanelles, leads through the Sea of Marmora and the Bosphorus to the Euxine or Black Sea and the Sea of Azov beyond. Its tides are trifling, and, owing to evaporation and impeded circulation, the water of the Mediterranean is far Salter and heavier than that of most other less confined seas. The current in the straits of Gibraltar always flows west on the surface, and it was long a mystery how the volume of the inland sea was kept constant, until recent observations showed the existence of a submarine inflow which more than compensates for the outflow. As a whole, the Mediterranean is a shallow sea. Between Malta and Crete, and between Naples and Sardinia, it attains 2,000 fathoms, or a little more; but towards the W. the bottom shelves up to 300 or 400 fathoms, and between Tunis and Sicily a ridge extends at a depth of 200 fathoms. The mean temperature at 100 or 150 fathoms is 54° to 56° Fahr.