Adriatic Sea


Adriatic Sea
an arm of the Mediterranean between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula. Also called Adriatic.

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Arm of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula.

It is about 500 mi (800 km) long, with an average width of 110 mi (175 km), a maximum depth of 4,035 ft (1,324 m), and an area of 50,590 sq mi (131,050 sq km). The Italian coast is relatively straight and continuous, having no islands, but the Balkan coast is full of islands, generally running parallel to the shore. The Strait of Otranto at its southeasterly limit links it with the Ionian Sea.

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Italian  Mare Adriatico  

      arm of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between the Italian and Balkan peninsulas. The Strait of Otranto at its southeasterly limit links it with the Ionian Sea. It is about 500 mi (800 km) long with an average width of 100 mi, a maximum depth of 4,035 ft (1,324 m), and an area of 50,590 sq mi (131,050 sq km). The Adriatic has been of great importance in the historical development of Mediterranean Europe and is of considerable scientific interest in itself. Modern study of the Adriatic has been carried out mainly under the auspices of several Italian and Balkan (Balkans) scientific institutes.

      There is a striking contrast between its two shores. The Italian coast is relatively straight and continuous, having no islands, whereas the Balkan coast is full of both large and small islands, generally oblong in shape and running parallel to the continental shore. Many tortuous straits also form inlets between the islands similar to those of the Norwegian fjords and make the coastline very intricate.

      The depths of the Adriatic near its shores bear a close relationship to the physiography of the adjacent coasts. Wherever such coasts are high and mountainous, the nearby sea depths are considerable, as in the case of the Istrian and Dalmatian areas of Slovenia and Croatia. Where low and sandy shores are found, the nearby sea is shallow, as in the vicinity of Venice or, farther south, near the delta of the Italian Po River. Generally speaking, the waters are shallow all along the Italian coast. The site of maximum depth of the Adriatic Sea is situated south of the central area; average depth is 1,457 ft (444 m).

      The Adriatic has two types of rather special sea bottoms, difficult to arrange in a rigorous classification but very common in the Mediterranean, namely, inlet-derived sediments and heat-altered sediments of the sea bottom proper. In general, the seabed consists of a yellowish mud and sand, containing fragments of shells, fossil mollusks, and corals. The main winds prevailing in the area are the bora, a strong northeast wind that blows from the nearby mountains into the sea, and a southeasterly wind named the sirocco that is less troublesome from a navigational point of view. During the six winter months, bora and sirocco alternate, with or without an interval of a few days calm. The tides of the Adriatic, which have been intensively studied, follow a complicated pattern, sweeping into the region from the south and being linked with those of the Ionian Sea.

      The tidal range is about three ft, in contrast to the general Mediterranean (Mediterranean Sea) tidal range of about 0.9 ft. The surface currents are chiefly influenced by the blowing winds, with currents spurred by north winds reaching a speed of four miles per hour.

      Temperatures in the surface layers of the sea reach 75°–77° F (24°–25° C) during the month of August, and the minimum readings, some 50° F (10° C), are usually reached during January and February. In the northern Adriatic, river mouth temperatures are even lower because the waters are cooled by melting ice and snow. At greater depths (820–980 ft) the maximum temperatures fluctuate around 57° F (14° C) while minimum temperatures are about 52° F (11° C).

      The Adriatic Sea, like the Mediterranean in general, is deficient in life; nutrient content, as indicated by the amount of phosphates and nitrates, is extremely low. Three main areas of marine life may nevertheless be recognized. In the northern Adriatic area significant winter cooling and a lowered salinity further impoverish the typical Mediterranean marine life. In the middle Adriatic area, life is much richer than further north, while the southern Adriatic area has its own distinctive forms of life.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Adriatic Sea — Adriatic redirects here. For other uses, see Adriatic (disambiguation). Map of the Adriatic Sea …   Wikipedia

  • Adriatic (Sea) — or Adriatic [ā΄drē at′ik] arm of the Mediterranean, between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula * * * …   Universalium

  • Adriatic (Sea) — or Adriatic [ā΄drē at′ik] arm of the Mediterranean, between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula …   English World dictionary

  • Adriatic (Sea) — or Adriatic [ā΄drē at′ik] arm of the Mediterranean, between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula …   English World dictionary

  • Adriatic Sea — A|dri|at|ic Sea also the Adriatic the Adriatic Sea the long, narrow sea between Italy and countries such as Slovenia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Albania …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Adriatic Sea —    Situated between Italy (q.v.) and the coast of Dalmatia (q.v.), it was the most important east west trade route prior to the 11th century. Byzantine domination of the Adriatic was tested after 827, when Muslim raiders began their conquest of… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Adriatic Sea — noun an arm of the Mediterranean between Slovenia and Croatia and Montenegro and Albania on the east and Italy on the west • Syn: ↑Adriatic • Instance Hypernyms: ↑sea • Part Holonyms: ↑Mediterranean, ↑Mediterranean Sea • …   Useful english dictionary

  • Adriatic Sea — noun /eɪ.dɹiˈæt.ɪk/ The sea that stretches from the Ionian Sea to the Gulf of Venice. It is located between the Italian and Balkan peninsulas …   Wiktionary

  • Adriatic Sea — inlet of the Mediterranean Sea, E of Italy …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Adriatic Sea — part of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Yugoslavia …   English contemporary dictionary


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