Interesting, See why the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans don’t mix

Published by Hyginus on

We are familiar with the fact that water covers about 70 percent of the earth’s surface which amounts to 361,132,000 Km2.

Looking at the map of the world, the oceans and seas can be identified easily and you might think that they just flow into each other. It seems like there’s only one large ocean that has been given different names by the people living around the ocean areas. Well, this is not the case, in fact, the borders between the world’s 5 oceans are clear. You will be wowed to know that in as much as they are made by the same components, they don’t always mix
Seeing where the world’s 2 largest oceans, i.e, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet (the southernmost tip of the end of South America, which is called Cape Horn), a very unfamiliar phenomenon happens. The waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean refuses to mix.

The border between these two oceans is like a line between two worlds and that’s what is even more spectacular. The darker pacific waters stands next to the lighter Atlantic waters, and it looks absolutely astonishing as this boundary continues for up to 800 Kilometres, which is known as the Drake Passage.

Why this? water can be different too. There are different density and chemical make-up, the level of salinity and other qualities between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and this is what forms a barrier between them, making it difficult for them to mix. One can easily mark out by the difference in colors, are far from being the same.

Ocean Clines is the borders between two bodies of water with different physical and biological characteristics. One of the most spectacular types of ocean cline is called Haloclines. When two bodies of water with significantly different salinity come together, a halocline is formed as the bodies of water refuse to mix, which is spectacular, and this is what we see when Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. Famous explorer, Jacques Cousteau discovered this phenomenon when he was deep diving in the Strait of Gibraltar.

When water in one ocean or sea is at least 5 times slatier than in the other then Haloclines appear. You might want to go against that, based Physics laws, a denser liquid should end up lower and less dense liquid higher. As per this theory, we should have the water from the Pacific ocean flow on top of the Atlantic ocean, i.e, the border between the two oceans would look not like a vertical line but as a horizontal line. But clearly this is not the case. So, why does this not happen?

First, the difference in the density between the water from the Atlantic ocean and that of the Pacific ocean is not that great for one of them to get down and other to rise up. However it’s sufficient to prevent them from mixing.

The inertial forces known as Coriolis force, it influences the movement of the obejct. One of the example of the effect of Coriolis force is seen on the rotation of the Earth, as the earth rotates, all the moving objects on the earth are acted upon by the Coriolis force, deviating from their course. Due to this, the object on the Earth’s surface don’t move in a straight line, but go in another direction in the clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result, the direction of the movement of water bodies in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are not the same It also doesn’t let them mix.

Another important difference between the two oceans’ water is the strength of molecules’ connection, or surface tensile strength. The two oceans have a totally different surface tensile strength, and it also doesn’t let them mix.

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