Strait of Gibraltar

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Gibraltar, Strait of

(jĭbrôl`tər), Lat. Fretum Herculeum or Fretum Gaditanum, passage, c.36 mi (58 km) long, connecting the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, between southernmost Spain and northwesternmost Africa. Its western limits are Cape Trafalgar (Spain) and Cape Spartel (Morocco); its eastern limits Gibraltar and Point Almina (just E of Ceuta, NW Africa). The strait's width ranges from 8 mi (12.9 km) off Point Marroquí to 27 mi (43 km) at the western entrance. The surface current in the strait flows east from the Atlantic; a countercurrent flows out from the Mediterranean at greater depth. The two promontories at the eastern entrance are the classical Pillars of HerculesPillars of Hercules,
ancient mythological name for promontories flanking the east entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. They are usually identified with Gibraltar in Europe and with Mt. Acha at Ceuta in Africa. The Jebel Musa (W of Ceuta) is also considered one of the pillars.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gibraltar, Strait of


a strait between the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula (Europe) and the northwestern part of Africa joining the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is 65 km long, 14-44 km wide, and has a depth of up to 388 m along the fairway (the deepest part measures 1,181 m). There are massifs on both shores of the strait: the Rock of Gibraltar on the north side and the Jebel Musa on the south. In ancient times these were called the Pillars of Hercules. The surface current flows eastward, while the deeper current flows westward. In the surface current the mean annual flow of Atlantic Ocean water into the Mediterranean is 55,198 cu km; the average temperature is 17° C, and the salinity is more than 36 parts per thousand. In the deeper current, the average annual flow of Mediterranean water into the Atlantic is 51,886 cu km; the average temperature is 13.5° C, and the salinity is 38 parts per thousand. The difference of 3,312 cu km is mainly caused by evaporation from the Mediterranean’s surface.

Because of its favorable geographic position, the Strait of Gibraltar has great economic and strategic significance; it is controlled by the English fortress of Gilbraltar. The Spanish seaport of La Línea is located on the northern shore.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The drug were packed in 55 parcels and carried onboard a rubber dinghy, caught off the province of Fahs-Anjra, said a source from local authorities, adding that the boat's four passengers were Moroccans heading for the northern shore of the Straits of Gibraltar.
She is now thought to be heading for the Straits of Gibraltar to cross the Mediterranean at its narrowest point, before continuing north through Spain and France.
And he is secretly scurrying around Europe with six lions, looking for his parents, staying in Venetian villas, traveling on ships through the straits of Gibraltar. Why not?
A Casablanca appeal court jails three Saudi members of Al Qaida - Zuhair Hilal Tabiti, Abdullah M'Sfer Ali Al Ghamdi and Hilal Jaber El Assiri - for 10 years on charges of plotting to attack US and British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar in 2002.
The hotel, which contains 169 rooms, offers wonderful views of the Straits of Gibraltar and has direct access from its swimming pool terrace to a sheltered sandy beach.
Three Saudis suspected of leading an al Qaida plot to attack British and US warships in the Straits of Gibraltar went on trial in Morocco yesterday.
Opened in 1996, the 1,375 km gas pipeline linked Hassir R'mel, Algeria, to Cordoba, Spain, via Morocco and the Straits of Gibraltar, supplies Spain with 30% of its gas requirements.
It is claimed the nine men had been using a popular drugs running route, across the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco, for some years to obtain the drug.
An ancient maritime port and naval base, strategically placed to the north of the Straits of Gibraltar, it has inevitably had a turbulent history; but with fine streets and squares it has long been considered one of the country's most beautiful cities.
When Imazighen converted to Islam, they became fiery devotees and crossed the Straits of Gibraltar to spread the faith.
The three-month trial period for Spanish power supplies to Morocco through the Straits of Gibraltar will be followed by an annual contract.