The Point Where the Two Largest Oceans of the World meet

It is so good (at least that’s how I feel) when I find out new and interesting things about the world I live in. It is so rewarding whether it is achieved by reading or travelling. It’s always new knowledge. Useful, helpful, beautiful.

A fifty-mile waterway, connecting canals, rivers, and lakes with locks, was built through the narrowest part of Panama.

The cost was astronomical, but the end result was the realization of a dream. For, at last, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were linked by a waterway. It was opened in 1914.

Now, ships could use the canal to shorten travel from New York to San Francisco and from Europe to the ports of Asia.

We all should know that despite an earlier failure by the French, in 1904 the U.S. began work on the Panama Canal, one of the modern world’s most ambitious engineering schemes.

The difference in density and salinity between the two oceans

Is it true that the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans don’t mix?

While we’ve given our planet’s oceans separate names, in reality there’s no border between them, and currents continually flow between them and mix their waters. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans ‘meet’ at the southernmost tip of South America. In this region, a strong current carries water from west to east, sweeping water from the Pacific into the Atlantic. The Straights of Juan del Fuego, at the tip of South America, (South of Argentina and Chile) is where the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean meet without mixing.

Salinity—the amount of dissolved salt in the water—is critical to so many aspects of the ocean, from circulation to climate to the global water cycle. … As oceanographers have known for many years—but now can “see”—the Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The videos you may have seen online showing two different coloured bodies of water drifting alongside each other are actually showing light-coloured, sediment-rich freshwater from melted glaciers meeting dark, salty ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska (and over time, currents and eddies cause these to mix, too).

Watch the  first video that shows it to you.  Why do these waters not mix?  Because there is a huge difference in salinity between the clear water that comes from melting glaciers, which is cool and low in salt, while the water from the second ocean has a high salt concentration. Therefore, the two oceans have different densities, which makes them almost impossible to mix.

Also, a picture from the Gulf of Alaska that has been making the rounds on the Internet for the last few years – shows a strange natural phenomenon that occurs when heavy, sediment-laden water from glacial valleys and rivers pours into the open ocean. For reasons of security I could not post it. There in the gulf, the two types of water run into each other. Isn’t it awsome?

Cristina David

Phil Perkins · Photography

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