Bays, gulfs, and straits are varieties of waterbodies that are had within a bigger body the water near land. These three waterbodies room usually situated at essential points of human activities; thus, problems with nature and also neighbors deserve to result.

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one infrared picture of the mountain Francisco only area, taken indigenous the an are shuttle Discovery, reflects the bay"s shape and also the heavy advance in the region.


A just is a small body of water or a wide inlet that is collection off native a bigger body of water normally where the land curve inward. The mountain Francisco Bay, turn off the shore in northern California, is a well-known bay in the united States. Instances of other bays incorporate the bay of Pigs (Cuba), Hudson only (Canada), Chesapeake just (Maryland and also Virginia), and Bay the Bengal (near India).

Bays usually occur on oceans, lakes, and also gulfs, and generally not on rivers except when there is one artificially enlarged flow mouth. An example of a bay in ~ a river"s mouth is new York Bay, in ~ the mouth that the Hudson River.

health and wellness of Bays.

every bays are vital to the continued health the the neighboring atmosphere . However, these bays deserve to be degraded as soon as the water"s organic state is adjusted by the advent of foreign materials into water flowing right into the bay, or into the bay itself. Because that instance, the san Francisco just is associated to the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta estuary , which is the largest estuary top top the west shore of the joined States. This aquatic device supports more than 120 species of fish and is a waterfowl migration and wintering area.

Although known for its organic beauty and also importance come the health of its bordering area, the mountain Francisco Bay has actually been degraded by many human tasks such as commerce and also recreation. Because that example, an ext than 95 percent that the tidal marshes along the shore have actually been filled. Big reductions (and in some situations losses) in fish and also wildlife habitat have resulted. The flow of fresh water into the estuary and the delta likewise has been lessened due to diversion that the water through pumps within the delta, thereby raising the estuary"s salinity.


A gulf is a large body that water, occasionally with a small mouth, that is almost fully surrounded by land. It can be considered a big bay. The world"s biggest gulf is the Gulf of Mexico, through a total surface area of about 1,554,000 square kilometers (600,000 square miles). It is surrounded by Mexico, the southern coast of the unified States, and Cuba, and contains countless bays, such together Matagorda bay (Texas) and also Mobile bay (Alabama). Instances of other gulfs include the Gulf the California, Gulf of Aden (between the Red Sea and also the Arabian Sea), and also the Persian Gulf (between Saudi Arabia and also Iran). The Persian Gulf is necessary with respect to people energy due to the fact that petroleum is transported with its waters in oil tankers.


clinical investigations that the Gulf the Mexico have documented a big area off the coastline of Louisiana v depleted oxygen levels, a condition known as hypoxia. Most aquatic species cannot make it through at such short oxygen levels, and also a so-called "dead zone" results. After the 1993 overwhelming of the Mississippi River, this area of hypoxia an ext than doubled in size, to end 18,000 square


This satellite view of the Arabian Peninsula illustrates gulfs, a strait, and also marginal seas. The small Strait that Hormuz (center right) connect the Persian Gulf (interior) and also the Gulf of Oman (far right), which join the Arabian Sea (bottom right). The Red Sea (and the Gulf of Aden) is at the bottom left.
kilometers (6,950 square miles). Generally, hypoxia can be traced back to extreme nutrients and also excessive expansion of algae , which eventually dies and whose massive degeneration reduces the concentration that oxygen essential for aquatic species.

due to the fact that of the enlarged size and continuing existence, the hypoxic zone might threaten the economic climate of the U.S. Gulf the Mexico region, including its extremely valued commercial and recreational fisheries. Like bays, gulfs are important measures the the wellness of aquatic ecosystems due to the fact that so plenty of waterbodies drain into them. Whatever has to be deposited into these waterbodies eventually can with gulfs.


A strait is a small passageway of water, usually in between continents or islands, or between two larger bodies the water. The Strait of Gibraltar is most likely the world"s most famous strait. That connects the Atlantic s on that is west v the Mediterranean Sea ~ above its east. It additionally separates northern Africa from the rock of Gibraltar on the southernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. Historically, almost all commerce between the Mediterranean Sea and also Atlantic ocean was routed v the Strait that Gibraltar. The is still crucial route of international trade.

two other popular straits room the Strait the Bosporus and also the Strait that Hormuz. The Strait that Bosporus is located in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe. The connects the black Sea (from the north) and the Sea the Marmara (from the south), and also splits northwestern Turkey. The Strait that Hormuz is located at the southeastern end of the Persian Gulf (see picture on web page 70). That is a small waterway that can be (and has been) regulated to protect against ships from cruising through the gulf.

choke Point.

as soon as a human body of water such together a strait is qualified of being blocked or also closed in stimulate to control transportation routes, the body is referred to as a "choke point." Historically, the Strait the Gibraltar has been just one of the world"s most necessary choke points. However, the Strait that Hormuz has actually become vital choke allude in recent years due to the fact that of boosting Middle eastern tensions. The Strait is surrounding by the united Arab Emirates and Oman (on one side) and also Iran (on the other side). Hormuz associate the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and also ultimately to the Indian Ocean.

SEE likewise Chesapeake bay ; Estuaries ; Islands, Capes, and Peninsulas ; Marginal Seas ; transportation .


March, wilhelm M. environmental Geography: Science, floor Use, and also Earth Systems, 2nd ed. New York: john Wiley & Sons, 2002.

Strahler, Alan H. introducing Physical Geography, 3rd ed. Brand-new York: john Wiley & Sons, 2003.

internet Resources

Guantanamo only Naval Base and also Ecological Crises. Trade and Environmental Database (TED). .

access USGS—San Francisco Bay and Delta. United states Geological Survey. .

Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf that Mexico Hypoxia Assessment, national Ocean Service, nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. .

Rabalais, Nancy N. Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA coastal Services Center, nationwide Oceanic and also Atmospheric Administration. .

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Guantánamo just is a sheltered inlet within the Caribbean Sea, located in southeastern Cuba close to the city that Guantánamo. During the SpanishAmerican war in 1898, the United says gained accessibility to the outer harbor that Guantánamo Bay. With an commitment signed with Cuba in 1903, the unified States obtained the ideal to maintain a naval base at Guantánamo Bay. In 1934, a contract reaffirmed the U.S. Ideal to lease the site. The treaty gave the United states a perpetual lease ~ above Guantánamo Bay, and may just be rescinded if the joined States need to abandon the area or through the common consent that Cuba and also the unified States.

about 18,390 hectares (45,440 acres) of water (32 percent), hard ground (49 percent), and also swampland (18 percent) consist of Guantánamo bay U.S. Navy Base, a facility of airfields and also repair, supply, and training facilities. The basic is strategically important due to the fact that of the marine route in between the United says and main and south America, and its nearby proximity come the Panama Canal.


Scientists think that throughout its past, the Strait of Gibraltar has closed periodically, protecting against the circulation of water in between the Mediterranean Sea and also Atlantic Ocean. Water that this particular day flows into the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic s usually stays in the Mediterranean for between 80 to 100 years prior to returning to the Atlantic.