What Is the Name of a Strait in Southern South America?

name-strait-southern-south-america Credit: Wayne Walton/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

The Strait of Magellan, also called the Magellan Strait, is one strait in South America. The Strait of Magellan sits at the southern tip of South America, and links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This strait appears as a wide channel, which serves as a navigable sea route for numerous vessels and watercrafts.

The wide channel established by the Strait of Magellan helps to separate the mainland from several islands south of the southern tip of the continent, including Tierra del Fuego. Most land in the Strait of Magellan lies in the boundaries of Chilean waters, although a small portion on the easternmost side lies in Argentina. The Magellan Strait spans a distance of 370 miles; its narrowest point is just under 2 miles, while its longest is just over 20.

Although the Strait of Magellan allows for the passage of ships along the southern coast of South America, its waters often pose great difficulties for traveling ships. Strong winds, extreme weather conditions and narrow widths (which create strong currents) make water travel quite difficult throughout the year. Nevertheless, many ships still use the Strait of Magellan to circumnavigate the southern coastline, and have used the strait since the early 1900s. Ships of all nationalities pass through the strait, although its boundaries are often subjects of dispute between Chile and Argentina.