Colorful display in the Mediterranean Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features a colorful display in the Mediterranean Sea between the island of Elba and the mainland of western Italy.
Sediment deposits outline the water currents and whirlpools near the coast, while phytoplankton are likely present as well.
According to Aida Alvera-Azcárate, an ocean scientist at the University of Liège, sediment is primarily transported to the Mediterranean Sea by large rivers along the north Italian coast.
The image was captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 on December 26, 2019.
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant. Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually referred to as a separate body of water. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years during the Messinian salinity crisis before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
It covers an area of about 2,500,000 km2 (970,000 sq mi), representing 0.7% of the global ocean surface, but its connection to the Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar—the narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa—is only 14 km (9 mi) wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea, the European Mediterranean Sea or the African Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
Image Credit: NASA