Biscay, Bay of


Biscay, Bay of
or Gulf of Gascony French Golfe de Gascogne Spanish Golfo de Vizcaya

Inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, bounded by southwestern France and northwestern Spain.

It has an area of about 86,000 sq mi (223,000 sq km) and a maximum depth of 15,525 ft (4,735 m). It is known for its rough seas. Rivers flowing into the bay include the Loire, Adour, and Garonne. Its ports include (in France) Brest, Nantes, and Bordeaux, and (in Spain) Bilbao, Santander, and Avilés; none can accommodate large vessels. French coastal resorts include La Baule, Biarritz, and Saint-Jean-de–Luz.

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bay, Europe
Spanish  Golfo De Vizcaya,  French  Golfe De Gascogne,  

      wide inlet of the North Atlantic Ocean indenting the coast of western Europe. Forming a roughly triangular body with an area of about 86,000 square miles (223,000 square km), it is bounded on the east by the west coast of France and on the south by the north coast of Spain. Its maximum depth, a little south of its centre, is 15,525 feet (4,735 m). The principal rivers flowing into the bay are the Loire, the Adour, and the Dordogne and Garonne, which form the Gironde Estuary.

      The continental shelf is up to about 100 miles (160 km) wide off the coast of Brittany but narrows to less than 40 miles (65 km) off the Spanish shore. The edge of the shelf and the continental slope are dissected by numerous submarine canyons of which that of Cape Breton, in the southeastern corner of the bay, is one of the largest. Beyond the continental slope lies the Biscay Abyssal Plain, with depths of about 15,000 feet (4,550 m), which occupies about half the area of the bay. Much of it has a very flat topography.

      The surface currents of the Bay of Biscay are influenced by the clockwise circulation in the North Atlantic that produces a clockwise circulation in the bay. The range of mean spring tides is about 20 feet (6 m) on the French coast at the northern end of the bay near Ouessant Island, decreasing southward to about 12 feet (3.5 m) in the southeastern angle near Biarritz. The Bay of Biscay is noted among sailors for its rough seas. Gales can be severe and may exceed 70 miles (113 km) per hour. Squalls are also a hazard to navigation and may occur at any time of year. The climate on shore is maritime, with mild winters and cool summers.

      The principal ports along the Bay of Biscay are Brest, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, and Bayonne in France, and Bilbao, Santander, Gijón, and Avilés in Spain; none is able to take large vessels. Resorts include La Baule, Biarritz, and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, all on the French coast. Fishing is a principal industry. Oyster culture is practiced in shallow lagoons and estuaries along the French coast.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Biscay,Bay of — Bis·cay (bĭsʹkā), Bay of An arm of the Atlantic Ocean indenting the western coast of Europe from Brittany in northwest France southward to northwest Spain. * * * …   Universalium

  • BISCAY, BAY OF —    a bay in the Atlantic, extending from Cape Ortegal, in Spain, to Cape Finisterre, in France, and 400 m. broad, of depth varying from 20 to 200 fathoms, and, under SW. winds particularly, one of the stormiest of seas …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Biscay, Bay of — geographical name inlet of the Atlantic between W coast of France & N coast of Spain …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Biscay, Bay of — inlet, of the Atlantic betw. W and SW France and N and NW Spain …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Biscay, Bay of — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Biscay Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador — Biscay Bay is a town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Origin of Name This name appears as early as 1675 in The English Pilot, a guide to navigation. At the time, Basques were called “Biscayans,” so the bay was probably used… …   Wikipedia

  • Biscay (disambiguation) — Biscay may refer to: * Biscay a Basque province of Spain * Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast of France and Spain * A Shipping Forecast sea area corresponding to the bay * Lord of Biscay mediaeval ruler of Biscay * Biscay, Minnesota city *… …   Wikipedia

  • Biscay — Biscay, Bay of →↑Bay of Biscay …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Bay of Biscay — Cantabrian Sea redirects here. Not to be confused with Biscay Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador or Biscayne Bay. The Bay of Biscay (Spanish: Golfo de Vizcaya and Mar Cantábrico ; French: Golfe de Gascogne ; Basque: Bizkaiko Golkoa ; Occitan: Golf de …   Wikipedia

  • bay — bay1 /bay/, n. 1. a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf. 2. South Atlantic States. an arm of a swamp. 3. a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills. 4. an arm of a prairie or swamp,… …   Universalium


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