Sargasso Sea: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Sargasso Sea is a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ocean currents. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This system of currents forms the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre.

The Sargasso Sea is roughly 700 statute miles wide and 2,000 statute miles long (1,100 km wide and 3,200 km long). It stretches from roughly 70 degrees west to 40 degrees west, and from 25 degrees north to 35 degrees north. Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea. The Sargasso Sea is the only "sea" without shores.[1] The ocean water in the Sargasso Sea is distinctive for its deep blue color and exceptional clarity, with underwater visibility of up to 200 feet (61 m).[2]



Portuguese sailors were among the first to discover this region in the 15th century, naming it after the Sargassum seaweed growing there (sargaço in Portuguese). However, the sea may have been known to earlier mariners, as a poem by the late 4th century AD author, Rufus Festus Avienus, describes a portion of the Atlantic as being covered with seaweed, citing a now-lost account by the 5th-century BC Carthaginian explorer Himilco the Navigator. Christopher Columbus and his men also noted the Sargasso Sea, and brought reports of the masses of seaweed on the surface.


An image of the distribution and size of eel larvae shows the approximate location of the Sargasso Sea.

The Sargasso Sea is home to seaweed of the genus Sargassum, which floats en masse on the surface there. The sargassum is not a threat to shipping, and historic incidents of sailing ships being trapped there are due to the often calm winds of the horse latitudes.[3]

The Sargasso Sea also plays a major role in the migration of the European eel and the American eel. The larvae of both species hatch there and go to Europe or the East Coast of North America. Later in life, they try to return to the Sargasso Sea to lay eggs. It is also believed that after hatching, young Loggerhead Sea Turtles use currents, such as the Gulf Stream to travel to the Sargasso Sea, where they use the Sargassum as cover from predation until they are mature.[4]

The Sargasso Sea was the subject of a recent metagenomics effort called the Global Ocean Sampling (GOS) survey by J. Craig Venter and others, to evaluate the diversity of microbial life there. The results have indicated that, contrary to previous theories, the area has a wide variety of prokaryotic life.

Owing to surface currents, the Sargasso accumulates a high concentration of non-biodegradable plastic waste.[5] This huge vortex of garbage is similar to another ocean phenomenon, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Popular culture

The Sargasso Sea is often portrayed in literature and the media as an area of mystery.[6]



The Sargasso Sea features in classic fantasy stories by William Hope Hodgson, such as his novel The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" (1907), Victor Appleton's Don Sturdy novel, Don Sturdy in the Port of Lost Ships: Or, Adrift in the Sargasso Sea, and several related short stories. Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas describes the Sargasso Sea and gives an account of its formation.[7]

Edwin Corley's novel, Sargasso, revolves around a fictional account of Apollo 19 splashing down in the Sargasso sea empty. In Marvel 1602, it is where the Fantastick Four gained their powers. Jean Rhys's Novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, plays with the idea that a woman can become lost in her own society and thus driven out of her mind, a la Bronte's 'mad woman in the attic'. Fred Andrew's mystery novel Plato's Pond [8] features the fictitious land of Gaia, which is a continent in the middle of the Sargassum Sea.

Steve Alten's Loch Ness-related novel The Loch revolves around an unknown species of animal being encountered in the depths of the Sargasso Sea.

Philosopher Michel Serres's 1982 work Genèse (Genesis, 1995 University of Michigan English translation), opens in its preface to a short tall tale which takes place on the "green and stagnant waters of the Sargasso Sea, at a mysterious spot where thousands of tiny sparks, all shapes and all colors, were glimmering crazily in the early morning light."

Pulp Magazines

The Sargasso Sea was the venue for the Doc Savage adventure "The Sargasso Ogre" written by Lester Dent under the psuedonym Kenneth Robeson and published in the October 1933 issue of the Doc Savage pulp magazine.[9][10]


The 1968 movie The Lost Continent was set in a highly fictionalized Sargasso Sea where Spanish galleons, trapped for centuries in seaweed, are found in modern times, along with a society of descendants of Conquistadores and sea monsters.


The first episode of the 1960s animated series Jonny Quest, Mystery of the Lizardmen[11] takes place in the Sargasso Sea.

"Lost in the Sargasso Sea" was episode 101 of the TV series Diver Dan.[12]

In 2004, the Cartoon Network series The Venture Bros., an oblique parody of Jonny Quest, aired an episode called the Ghosts of the Sargasso, intermingling many pop culture references with the folklore of the Bermuda Triangle. In a reference to this windless, seaweed bogged section of the sea, the Captain of the Ghost Pirates decries "We've been stuck in that stinkin' sargassum for years, which by the way no matter how you cook it, still tastes like hot sargassum."

In the anime/manga "One Piece", The Calm Belt is a reference of the Sargasso Sea, by the absence of wind blowing and ocean current.

The thirteenth episode of the 1978 series "Space Pirate Captain Harlock", titled "Witch Castle in the Sea of Death " takes place in the Saragasso Sea.

In the 9th episode of SeaQuest:DSV Season 1 (1993), takes place in a hurricane on the Sargasso Sea. The ship biologist uses a piece of Sargassum algae to identify their position as the Sargasso Sea. A bit misleading since Sargassum algae is found throughout the world.


British Post Rock group Pram entitled its 1995 album "Sargasso Sea".

The second track on American Progressive Rock group Scale The Summit's album Carving Desert Canyons is entitled "Sargasso Sea"

The video for Modest Mouse's "Dashboard" involves a sailor's tale of being lost in the Sargasso, in which he loses a hand, is rescued by an island tribe of musical performers who replace his missing hand with a microphone.

Lotus recorded a live album in 2007 entitled "Escaping Sargasso Sea."

The Doors in their spoken word song titled Horse Latitudes describe the Sargasso Sea this way: "When the still sea conspires in armor. And her sullen and aborted currents breed tiny monsters. True sailing is dead."

The album "Sutra Spin" released July 15, 1997 by Tom Vedvik features the song "Sargasso".


  1. ^ "Flint Institute of Arts Vol 2 No 2". 
  2. ^ "Sargasso Sea". World Book. 15. Field Enterprises. 1958. 
  3. ^ "Sargasso". Straight Dope. 
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature |Turtles return home after UK stay
  5. ^ "The trash vortex". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  6. ^ Ruth Heller (2000). A Sea Within a Sea: Secrets of the Sargasso. Price Stern Sloan. ISBN 978-0448424170. 
  7. ^ Jules Verne (trans. by William Butcher) (1870/2001). 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-282839-8. 
  8. ^ Kemper Conseil Publishing
  9. ^ "The Sargasso Ogre". The Fantastic Adventures Of Doc Savage. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  10. ^ Dent, Lester (2007). Doc Savage Reprint #7: The Lost Oasis and The Sargasso Ogre. Nostalgia Ventures. ISBN 1-9328-0671-7. 
  11. ^ Mystery of the Lizardmen at AOL Television
  12. ^ IMDb Lost in the Sargasso Sea

Coordinates: 28°20′08″N 66°10′30″W / 28.33556°N 66.175°W / 28.33556; -66.175

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SARGASSO SEA, a tract of the North Atlantic Ocean, covered with floating seaweed (Sargassum, originally named sargaco by the Portuguese). This tract is bounded approximately by 25° and 30° N. and by 38° and 60° W., but its extent varies according to winds and ocean currents. By these agencies the weed is carried and massed together, the original source of supply being probably the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico (see Algae). Similar circumstances lead to the existence of other similar tracts covered with floating weed, e.g. in the solitary part of the Pacific Ocean, north of the Hawaiian islands, between 30° and 40° N. and between 150° and 180° W. There is a smaller tract S.E. of New Zealand, and along a belt of the southern ocean extending from the Falkland Islands, south of Africa and south-west of Australia, similar floating banks of weed are encountered. The Sargasso Sea was discovered by Columbus, who on his first voyage was involved in it for about a fortnight. The widely credited possibility of ships becoming embedded in the weed, and being unable to escape, is disproved by the expedition of the "Michael Sars," under the direction of Sir John Murray and the Norwegian government, in 1910, which found the surface covered with weed only in patches, not continuously.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Proper noun

Sargasso Sea


Sargasso Sea

  1. An elongated area in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ocean currents.



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