10 Important Facts About the Alboran Sea

The Alboran Sea is the most westerly part of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Alboran Sea is the most westerly part of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Alboran Sea is located at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, and lies between North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The Alboran Sea borders Morocco and Algeria to the south, Spain to the north, and Gibraltar to the west. The western part of the Alboran Sea, at the Strait of Gibraltar, joins the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean, while the eastern part connects the Cape de Gata (Spain) to Cape Fegalo (Algeria). The Alboran Sea has an average depth of 1,461ft and a maximum depth of 4,920 ft.

Interesting Facts About the Alboran Sea

1. The Alboran coastline stretches for approximately 765 miles over multiple countries: 355 miles in Spain, 335 miles in Morocco, and 75 miles in Algeria. Despite coastline in three countries, Spain has taken control of the Alboran Sea's coastline in Morocco and Algeria.

2. The Alboran Sea drifts in rotary circulations (gyre), flowing eastward at the surface and carrying water to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, and deeper subsurface water flows westward, carrying away saltier Mediterranean water into the Atlantic Ocean.

3. As a transition zone between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alboran Sea is home to the largest populations of bottlenose dolphins and is the most significant feeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles in Europe. It is the habitat to the only surviving population of harbor porpoises in the Mediterranean.

4. The Alboran Sea is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, as all ships entering the Mediterranean Sea must pass through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea before docking at their respective ports.

5. The richest biodiversity zone of the Mediterranean has protected relict species around the Rif Mountains from fluctuating weather conditions as climate conditions have forced them to become extinct around the Mediterranean basin.

6. The Alboran Sea acts as the lungs of the Mediterranean Sea, as it contains a wide diversity of plankton whose biomass is the largest in the Mediterranean. The oceanographic characteristics of the Alboran Sea promote the growth of three seagrass species, including the Posidonia oceanica, which provide the main source of oxygen for the distinct marine life.

7. Due to the strategic military position and proximity to the Alboran Sea, several naval bases have been established on the sea at Cartagena, Spain. The Alboran Sea thus acts as the docking point for NATO, American and British submarines, and is used as an exercise ground for underwater explosions and firing.

8. The Alboran Sea is a confluence of three regions: the Mauritanian (warm), the Lusitanian (warm-cold), and the Mediterranean.

9. The Alboran Sea hosts several small Islands, including Isla de Alboran, Penon de Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Islas Chafarinas, which are mainly inhabited by military staff due to their small size.

10. The Alboran Sea domain consists of two main zones, namely the internal and external zones representing the westernmost terminal of the terrains subdued between the African and Eurasian Plates. The internal zone includes the sea floor, while the external zone consists of the Gibraltar Arc and the Atlas Mountains.


More in Environment