What Are Some Facts About the Red Sea?


Quick Answer

The Red Sea is an inlet of the Indian Ocean that separates northeastern Africa from Asia minor. Specifically, the Red Sea borders Saudi Arabia and Yemen on its eastern shore and Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti on its western shore. The Red Sea has one of the highest salt concentrations of any body of water in the world and is home to over 1,000 invertebrate species.

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Full Answer

The Red Sea covers approximately 174,000 square miles and reaches a maximum depth of 8,400 feet. However, approximately 40 percent of the Red Sea is less than 330 feet deep. Its waters cross the Tropic of Cancer, and it is the northernmost tropical sea in the world. The high salinity of the Red Sea, which is approximately 3.7 percent, is caused by its water circulation pattern and climate conditions. The Red Sea receives very little rain, with an average annual total of less than 3 inches.

The Egyptians are believed to have been the first to explore the Red Sea. In Roman times, the Red Sea was favored for trade with India and China; in medieval times, it was an essential leg of the spice trade route. In 1869, the 101-mile-long Suez Canal opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. As of 2015, about 7.5 percent of the world’s sea trade travels through the canal.

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