Bab El-Mandeb

(redirected from Mandeb, Strait)

Bab El-Mandeb

 

(Arabic, Bab al-Mandab; literally, “gates of woe,” because of the danger to navigation), a strait between the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, joining the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden of the Arabian Sea. At its narrowest point Bab el-Mandeb is 26.5 km wide; its shallowest point in the fairways is 182 m. The island of Perim divides the strait into two passages, the greater and the lesser. In winter the upper current, which carries less salty water, flows toward the Red Sea, and the lower current, which has saltier water, flows from the Red Sea. In summer both the upper current (with a depth to 25–50 m below the surface) and the lower current (100–150 m from the bottom) carry salt waters from the Red Sea, and the intermediate current (at a depth of 25–50 m and 100–150 m) carries waters to the Red Sea. The strait has great economic and strategic importance, since it straddles the path from Europe into eastern and southern Asia and Australia.