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Facts about the Gulf of Mexico For Kids


  • The Gulf of Mexico (Spanish: Golfo de México) is an ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba.
  • 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 connected to the Atlantic Ocean 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.
  • This land lay south of a continuous mountain range that extended from north-central Mexico, through the Marathon Uplift in West Texas and the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma, and to Alabama where it linked directly to the Appalachian Mountains.
  • Particularly during the Cenozoic, thick clastic wedges built out the continental shelf along the northwestern and northern margins of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Today, there are 7 main areas of the gulf: Gulf of Mexico Basin, which contains the Sigsbee Deep and can be further divided into the continental rise, the Sigsbee Abyssal Plain, and the Mississippi Cone.
  • In 1510, he accompanied Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, an aide of the governor of Hispaniola, in his expedition to conquer Cuba.
  • In 1697, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville sailed for France and was chosen by the Minister of Marine to lead an expedition to rediscover the mouth of the Mississippi River and to colonize Louisiana which the English coveted.
  • The gulf’s warm water temperature can feed powerful Atlantic hurricanes causing extensive human death and other destruction as happened with Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  • On September 10, 2006, the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center reported that a strong earthquake, ranking 6.0 on the Richter scale, occurred about 250 miles (400 km) west-southwest of Anna Maria, Florida, around 10:56 AM EDT.
  • The Smithsonian Institution Gulf of Mexico holdings are expected to provide an important baseline of understanding for future scientific studies on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.