The Atlantic Ocean & It's Islands

The Atlantic Ocean has a surface area of 106,400,000 sq kms which covers 20% of the earth's surface and contains 26% of the earth's salt water at 354,700,000 cubic kilometres. The Ocean's deepest point is at the point of the Puerto Rico Trench at a depth of 8,605 metres.

The name Atlantic, originally Atlantikos, comes from the ancient Greek word meaning Atlas Sea. The ocean can also be seen on some old maps as the Aethiopian or Ethiopian Sea.

The ocean's main feature is the 65,000 km long by 1,600 km wide, Mid - Atlantic Ridge, a vast underwater mountain range which borders several tectonic plates, along the entire length of the ocean floor, from Bouvet Island to it's south travelling northwards through the country of Iceland and on to Jan Mayan island to it's north.

Norway's tiny volcanic, Bouvet Island, the world's remotest island situated 2,525 kms from it's nearest neighbour, South Africa, is the most southerly landmass situated on the ridge and Norway's Jan Mayan Island is the most northerly landmass situated on the ridge.

The Mid - Atlantic Ridge divides the ocean into east and west and the point of the Equator divides the ocean into north and south.


The Atlantic Ocean is linked to the Pacific Ocean at the point of Drakes Passage at the very southern tip of South America and the Panama Canal, situated at Central America's narrowest point on the Isthmus of Panama.

The Atlantic links with the Arctic Ocean by way of the Greenland Sea and Labrador Sea situated off Canada's northern coast and the Denmark Strait and Norwegian Sea in Northern Europe.

The Atlantic is linked to the Mediterranean Sea in Europe at the point of the Straits of Gibraltar situated between the Iberian Peninsular and North Africa and linked to the North Sea by way of the Denmark Straits.

The Atlantic flows into the Indian Ocean at the point of the 20th Meridian East.

The Atlantic Ocean is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to it's north and the Southern Ocean to it's south and has coastlines on 65 countries on four continents, 15 in Europe, 27 in Africa, 11 in South America and 12 in North America.

The Atlantic Ocean consists of thousands of gulfs and bays, including the vast Gulf of Guinea situated off the west coast of Africa, the Bay of Biscay, situated off France's west coast, Canada's Hudson Bay, the world's largest bay at 4,041,400 sq kms and the U.S.A's Bay of Fundy, which has the world's highest tidal range with a mean spring tide of between 14.5 metres and 16.3 metres.

Part of the Mid - Atlantic Ridge that rises above the sea as seen here in Iceland


There are nine islands formed from areas of the Mid - Atlantic ridge which rise out of the sea to form large land masses. From north to south, they are;

Jan Mayan Island - Norway.

Iceland - Independent Republic.

Azores - Autonomous region of Portugal.

Bermuda - British overseas territory.

St Peter + St Paul Rocks - Brazil.

Ascension Island - British overseas territory.

Tristan da Cunha - British overseas territrory.

Gough Island - U.K

Bouvet Island - Norway.


The Baltic Sea.

The Black Sea.

The Caribbean Sea.

The Celtic Sea.

The Greenland Sea.

The Gulf of Mexico.

The Irish Sea.

The North Sea.

The Norwegian Sea.

The Sargasso Sea.


The Atlantic Ocean is home to hundreds of island groups, including;

Aran Islands - Region of the Republic of Ireland.

Azores - Autonomous region of Portugal.

Canary Islands - Autonomous region of Spain.

Cape Verde - Independent Republic.

Faroe Islands - Region of Denmark.

Falkland Islands - British overseas territory.

Florida Keys - Region of the U.S.A.

The Hebrides - Region of the U.K

Lofoten Islands - Region of Norway.

Madeira - Autonomous region of Portugal.

Orkney Islands - Region of the U.K

Sao Tome + Principe - Independent Republic.

St Peter + St Paul Archipelago - Brazil.

Shetland Islands - Region of the U.K.

South Georgia - Territory of the U.K.

South Sandwich - Territory of the U.K.

Scilly Isles - Region of the U.K.

Spitzbergen - Region of Norway.

Tristan da Cunha Archipelago - British overseas territory.

Tierra del Fuego Archipelago - Regions of Chile and Argentina.


Macronesia is the modern geographic term for the five volcanic archipelagos of the Azores, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and the Savage Islands, situated off the west coast of Africa in the north Atlantic Ocean.


The Atlantic Ocean is also home to thousands of individual islands along the coasts of it's four bordering continents, the largest of which are;

Greenland - Autonomous region of Denmark - 2,130,800 sq kms.

Great Britain - Comprising of the countries England, Scotland + Wales - 209,331 sq kms.

Newfoundland - Region of Canada - 108,860 sq kms.

Iceland - Independent republic - 101,826 sq kms.

Ireland - Consisting of the Republic of Ireland + Northern Ireland - 84,421 sq kms.

The world's most southerly located museum, the Grytviken Whaling Museum, on South Georgia.


Shown below are eight maps of various Atlantic Ocean islands - The Azores, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Sao Tome & Principe, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen Island, South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands and the Tristan da Cunha Archipelago.


The Azores are an autonomous region of Portugal situated 1,500 kilometers off the west coast of Portugal. The island group consists of nine, volcanic islands, the largest of which is Sao Miguel, where the island group's largest city, Ponta Delgado, is situated.


The Canary Islands are an autonomous region of Spain, which are situated one hundred kilometres off the west coast of north Africa.The island group comprises of fourteen islands, of which the largest and most populous is Tenerife. The island group's capital city, Las Palmas, is situated on the second largest island in the group, Gran Canaria.


The Republic of Cape Verde is an archipelago of ten volcanic islands and eight islets, situated 570 kilometers off the coast of Senegal in west Africa.

The islands are made up of two island groups, the Barlavento Islands to the north and the Sotavento Islands to the south, which between them are dispersed over an area of over four thousand square kilometres.

The island group's largest island is Santiago (Sao Tiago) in the Sotavento Islands, where the island group's capital city, Praia, is situated.


The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome & Principe are a group of two archipelagos situated in the Gulf of Guinea, 250 kilometers off the north, west coast of Gabon in west Africa. The two archipelagos are made up eight islands with the two main islands of Sao Tome and Principe situated 140 kilometers apart.

Between them the two groups cover an area of around 1,000 square kilometers, making them the smallest country of the African continent and the smallest Portuguese speaking nation in the world.

The largest island of the group is Sao Tome, which is where the group's capital city, also called Sao Tome, is situated.


The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory which are situated in the south Atlantic just north of the Scotia Sea, five hundred kilometres from the Patagonian coast of southern Argentina. The archipelago, which lies along the Patagonian Shelf, is made up of 778 islands which between them are dispersed over an area of 12,175 square kilometers.

The archipelago's two largest and most populous islands are West Falkland and East Falkland, the largest of which is East Falkland, where the archipelago's capital city, Stanley, is situated.


The Faroe Islands are an autonomous region of Denmark, situated between the north Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea, 655 kilometres north, west of Scotland's Shetland Islands and almost equidisent between Iceland and Norway.

The archipelago is made up of eighteen main islands which cover an area of 1,400 square kilometers. The archipelago's largest island is Streymoy, where the archipelago's capital city, Torshavn, is situated.


Jan Mayen Island is a region of Norway which is situated between the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea. The volcanic island covers an area of 373 square kilometers and lies six hundred kilometres north, east of Iceland. Most of the island is covered in glaciers, although it does have a small population of Norwegian Armed Forces billeted there, in the island's only town, Olonkinbyen, in order to man various weather stations.


South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a British Overseas Territory located between the South Atlantic and the Scotia Sea, situated 1,390 kilometers south, east of the Falkland Islands. The islands cover a land area of 3,903 square kilometers between them, with South Georgia being the largest and only inhabited of the islands. The small population of temporary British governmental officials live on South Georgia's main settlement, Grytviken, where the world's most southerly located museum can be found and the grave of explorer Ernest Shackleton.

The eleven islands which make up the South Sandwich Islands are all uninhabited, but do house several, automated weather stations.


The Tristan da Cunha Archipelago is part of the British Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, St Helena & Ascension Island, situated in the south Atlantic. This group of volcanic islands make up the world's remotest, inhabited islands, situated 2,816 kilometers from their nearest landmass of South Africa.The territory, which together covers a land area of 420 square kilometers, is dispersed over an area, from Ascension Island to Gough Island, of 3,642 kilometers.

The TDC archipelago is made up of the inhabited Tristan da Cunha Island and six smaller, uninhabited islands, which between them cover an area of 207 square kilometers, and includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gough Island.

Ascension Island's capital city is Georgetown, St Helena's capital city is Jamestown and the TDC Archipelago's capital is Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

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