Gulf of Mexico

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The Gulf of Mexico (Spanish: Golfo de México) is the ninth largest[1] body of water in the world. It is a partially landlocked[2] ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba.[3] It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. The shape of its basin is roughly oval and is approximately 810 nautical miles (1,500 km) wide and filled with sedimentary rocks and debris. It is part of the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to it through the Florida Straits between the U.S. and Cuba, and with the Caribbean Sea (with which it forms the American Mediterranean Sea) via the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and Cuba. With this narrow connection to the Atlantic, the Gulf experiences very small tidal ranges. The size of the Gulf basin is approximately 615,000 mi² (1.6 million km²). Almost half of the basin is shallow continental shelf waters. At its deepest it is 14,383 ft (4,384 m) at the Sigsbee Deep, an irregular trough more than 300 nautical miles (550 km) long. The basin contains a volume of roughly 660 quadrillion gallons (2.5 × 1015 m3). It was probably formed approximately 300 million years ago as a result of the seafloor sinking. It is one of the world's warmest bodies of water.[1]

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