Gulf of

Gulf of

Nicoya, Gulf of, inlet of the Pacific Ocean, Central America, between the Nicoya Peninsula and the northwest mainland of Costa Rica. The catch from the fine fishing in the gulf is canned at Puntarenas. The village of Nicoya on the peninsula was probably the first Spanish settlement (c.1530) in Costa Rica.
Bothnia, Gulf of: see Baltic Sea.
Guinea, Gulf of, large open arm of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the great bend of the coast of W Africa. It extends from the western coast of Côte d'Ivoire to the Gabon estuary and is bounded on the south by the equator. The bights of Benin and Biafra belong to the gulf. The exploitation of major offshore oil deposits began in the late 1990s. There are also metal ore deposits. Islands in the gulf include Bioko (formerly Fernando Po), São Tomé, and Principe.
Aden, Gulf of, western arm of the Arabian Sea, 550 mi (885 km) long, lying between Yemen and Somalia; connected with the Red Sea by the Bab el Mandeb. The gulf is on the great Mediterranean Sea-Indian Ocean trade route. After the 16th cent. Portugal, Turkey, and Great Britain were the chief contenders for control of the gulf, but by the 19th cent. Britain dominated the area. In the late 1960s, British military withdrawal E of Suez led to an increased Soviet naval presence in the gulf area. The importance of the Gulf of Aden declined when the Suez Canal was closed, but it was revitalized when, after being deepened and widened by Egypt, the canal was reopened in 1975 and marine activity increased. The Gulf of Aden is richly supplied with fish, turtles, and lobsters.
Aegina, Gulf of: see Saronic Gulf, Greece.
Fonseca, Gulf of, inlet of the Pacific Ocean, c.700 sq mi (1,810 sq km), c.50 mi (80 km) long and c.30 mi (50 km) wide, W Central America. In a volcanic area, it is a natural shallow harbor shared by Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. It receives the Choluteca River, among others. La Unión, in El Salvador, and Henecán, in Honduras, are the chief ports. Nicaragua leased (1916) a site for a naval base on the gulf to the United States as an adjunct of the Nicaragua Canal, causing protests from El Salvador. Upheld by the Central American Court of Justice, the protests were ignored by the United States and Nicaragua. The first European to explore (1522) the gulf was Gil González de Ávila, a Spaniard.
Corinth, Gulf of, inlet of the Ionian Sea, c.80 mi (130 km) long and from 3 to 20 mi (4.8-32 km) wide, indenting central Greece and separating the Peloponnesus from the Greek mainland. It is connected with the Saronic Gulf by the 4-mi (6.4-km) Corinth Canal (which cuts across the Isthmus of Corinth at sea level) and with the Gulf of Pátrai by the Ríon Strait, which is crossed by a 7,382-ft (2,250 m) cable-stayed bridge at Ríon. The city of Corinth lies on the gulf's southeastern shore. It is also known as the Gulf of Lepanto.
Carpentaria, Gulf of, arm of the Arafura Sea, 305 mi (491 km) wide and 370 mi (595 km) long, indenting the northern coast of Australia. On its eastern shore, near Weipa, lies a vast bauxite deposit. Willem Jansz explored the gulf in 1606.
Riga, Gulf of, eastern arm of the Baltic Sea, bordering on Estonia and on Latvia. At its mouth it is nearly closed off by the Estonian island of Saaremaa. The gulf, which is frozen from December to April, receives the Western Dvina (Daugava) River. Riga and Pärnu are the chief ports.
Saint Lawrence, Gulf of, arm of the Atlantic Ocean, c.100,000 sq mi (259,000 sq km), SE Canada, extending c.250 mi (400 km) from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River to Newfoundland on the east. At its greatest width (northeast-southwest) it is c.500 mi (800 km). It is bounded by Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec; in the Gulf are Prince Edward Island, Anticosti Island, the Magdalen Islands, and numerous small islands near its north shore. Chaleur Bay, a west inlet, lies between the Gaspé Peninsula and New Brunswick. The Strait of Belle Isle, Cabot Strait, and the Strait of Canso lead to the Atlantic. The Gulf is subject to frequent fog and is closed to navigation by ice from early December to mid-April. It was visited by explorers before the 16th cent., and it has important fishing grounds, especially for cod.
Maine, Gulf of, part of the Atlantic Ocean, between SE Maine and SW Nova Scotia, at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy. The area is noted for its scenery and fishing. Overfishing and pollution led to the enactment of strict commercial fishing regulations regarding the gulf and other New England fishing grounds in the 1990s.
Chihli, Gulf of, China: see Bohai.
Mexico, Gulf of, arm of the Atlantic Ocean, c.700,000 sq mi (1,813,000 sq km), SE North America. The Gulf stretches more than 1,100 mi (1,770 km) from west to east and c.800 mi (1,290 km) from north to south. It is bordered by the southeast coast of the United States from Florida to Texas, and the east coast of Mexico from Tamaulipas to Yucatán. Cuba is near the Gulf's entrance. On Cuba's northern side the Gulf is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by the Straits of Florida; on Cuba's southern side it is connected with the Caribbean Sea by the Yucatán Channel. Warm water from the Caribbean enters the Gulf through the Channel, forms a loop current off the U.S. and Mexican coasts, and then exits through the Straits as the Florida Current, becoming the Gulf Stream.

The Bay of Campeche (Bahía de Campeche), Mexico, and Apalachee Bay, Florida, are the Gulf's largest arms. Sigsbee Deep (12,714 ft/3,875 m), the Gulf's deepest part, lies off the Mexican coast. The shoreline is generally low, sandy, and marshy, with many lagoons and deltas. Chief of the many rivers entering the Gulf are the Mississippi, Alabama, Brazos, and Rio Grande. The U.S. Intracoastal Waterway follows the Gulf's northern coast.

Oil deposits from the continental shelf are tapped by offshore wells, especially near Texas and Louisiana. Most of the U.S. shrimp catch comes from the Gulf Coast; menhaden is also important. The discovery in the 1990s of a large oxygen-depleted "dead zone" off the Louisiana coast raised concerns about the effects of agricultural runoff on the Gulf; the zone has at times encompassed more than 8,000 sq mi (20,700 sq km). The chief Gulf ports are at Tampa and Pensacola, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; New Orleans; Galveston and Corpus Christi, Tex.; Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico; and Havana, Cuba.

Finland, Gulf of, eastern arm of the Baltic Sea, c.285 mi (460 km) long and from c.10 to c.75 mi (15-120 km) wide, between Finland and Russia and Estonia. The shallow gulf receives the Narva River and water from Lake Lagoda and the Saimaa lakes; it is frozen from December to March. The gulf, an important corridor for Russian and Estonian shipping, contains many islands. St. Petersburg and Tallinn (Estonia) and Helsinki (Finland) are the chief ports.
Tonkin, Gulf of, NW arm of the South China Sea, c.300 mi (480 km) long and 150 mi (240 km) wide, between Vietnam and China. The shallow gulf (less than 200 ft/60 m deep) receives the Red River. Haiphong, Vietnam, and Peihai (Pakhoi), China, are the chief ports. An alleged attack (Aug., 1964) by North Vietnamese gunboats against U.S. naval forces stationed in the gulf led to increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (see Tonkin Gulf Resolution).
Thailand, Gulf of, or Gulf of Siam, shallow arm of the South China Sea, c.500 mi (800 km) long and up to 350 mi (560 km) wide, separating the Malay Peninsula from E Thailand, Cambodia, and S Vietnam. Bangkok, the gulf's chief port, is at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River.
Siam, Gulf of: see Thailand, Gulf of.
Sidra, Gulf of, Arab. Khalij Surt, arm of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between Misratah and Benghazi, Libya. Tuna fishing is an important economic activity.
Lion, Gulf of, Fr. Golfe du Lion, arm of the Mediterranean Sea, S France, extending from the French-Spanish border to Toulon. Its coastline includes many lagoons and the Rhône delta. Marseilles is the chief port on the gulf.
Zhili, Gulf of, China: see Bohai.
California, Gulf of, or Sea of Cortés, arm of the Pacific Ocean, c.700 mi (1,130 km) long and 50 to 130 mi (80-209 km) wide, NW Mexico; separates Baja California from the Mexican mainland. The gulf is part of a depression in the earth's surface that extends inland to the Coachella Valley, S Calif. The Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea, once part of the gulf, have been cut off from it by the growth of the Colorado River delta. The gulf deepens from north to south; its greatest depth is c.8,500 ft (2,590 m). The coastline is irregular, with numerous islands; Tiburon, inhabited by aboriginal tribes, is the largest. Storms and tidal currents hinder navigation in the gulf. Once a rich commercial and sport fishing ground, the gulf now suffers from overfishing. The region is a developing tourist center; La Paz, Guaymas, and Mazatlán are major cities. The area was first explored in 1538 by the Spaniard Francisco de Ulloa.
Martaban, Gulf of, arm of the Andaman Sea, indenting S Myanmar and receiving the waters of the Sittoung and Thanlwin (Salween) rivers. The small port of Martaban, located at the mouth of the Thanlwin across the river from Mawlamyine, is famous for its glazed pottery.
Aqaba, Gulf of, northeastern arm of the Red Sea, 118 mi (190 km) long and 10 to 15 mi (16.1 to 24.1 km) wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas; a part of the Great Rift Valley. The gulf, which is entered through the Straits of Tiran, has played a major role in the tensions and wars between Israel and the Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia) bordering it. Aqaba, with the Israeli port of Elat at its head, was Israel's only accessible waterway to E Africa, Asia, and Australia when Egypt closed the Suez Canal between 1967 to 1975. The Gulf of Aqaba was blockaded by the Arabs from 1949 to 1956 and again in 1967, despite the fact that it was declared (1958) an international waterway by the United Nations. In the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel occupied the Sinai and hence strategic points along the Straits of Tiran to insure open passage of its shipping. As a result of the Camp David accords of 1978, and the ensuing Egypt-Israel peace treaty (1979), Israel withdrew from its positions on the Straits of Tiran. The Gulf of Aqaba played a major role in the Iran-Iraq War throughout the 1980s, when it became a vital supply port for Iraq via Jordan. Later, with the imposition of international sanctions against Iraq and the ensuing Persian Gulf War (1991), the Gulf of Aqaba served as an important blockade point for coalition forces against goods bound for Iraq.
The Gulf of Finland (Finnish: Suomenlahti, Russian: Финский залив, Finskiy zaliv, Swedish: Finska viken, Estonian: Soome laht) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea that extends between Finland (to the north) and Estonia (to the south) all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn. The eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland belong to Russia and some of Russia's most important oil harbours are located furthest in, near Saint Petersburg (including Primorsk). As the seaway to Saint Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland has been and continues to be of considerable strategic importance to Russia. Some of the environmental problems affecting the Baltic Sea are at their most pronounced in the shallow, cul-de-sac gulf.


The Gulf of Finland has an area of 29,500 km², its length is 428 km and it is up to 120 km wide. The width at the mouth of the gulf is 75 km and the distance from Porkkala to Rohuneeme, outside Tallinn, is 52 km. The gulf narrows in the east, eventually becoming the 10–28 km wide Gulf of Kronstadt. The largest bay on the northern coast is the Gulf of Vyborg, and in the south Narva Bay.

There are several islands in the Gulf of Finland. Gogland, Tyters, Lavansaari and Seiskari are the largest of these, and there are countless islands along the very splintered northern shoreline all the way from the west to the Gulf of Vyborg in the east. The deepest parts of the gulf can be found at the mouth of the gulf, where there is a deep with a depth of 80–100 meters. There are even depths of over 100 meters at the southern coast, while the depth at the northern coast never exceeds 60 meters. Much of the northern shoreline is quite shallow and rocky, making it difficult, even dangerous to navigate coastal waters there without accurate charts. The deepest point, 121 m, is at the Estonian coast, just northeast of Tallinn. About 5% of the water mass in the Baltic Sea is located in the Gulf of Finland.

The ocean currents tend to move clockwise on the northern hemisphere (due to the Coriolis effect), and therefore the currents are moving eastwards in near the Finnish coast, and westwards near the Estonian coast. The water is sweeter further in the gulf, because of the large river Neva, which has its outlet there.

Environmental problems

The huge eutrophication of the Gulf of Finland is the biggest problem for the sea – algal bloom, which occures during summers, can cover large areas.

Cities and Towns

Major Islands

See also

External links

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