From dolphins to humans, thousands of species call the Gulf of Mexico their home, and for good reason. As the largest gulf in the world, this body of water is a unique part of our ecosystem, providing support and sustenance for millions of years. Read on to learn more:
It formed 300 million years ago
The Gulf of Mexico has been around for a long time—300 million years, in fact. It formed as a result of seafloor subsidence, a process that involves the gradual sinking of the seafloor. It now stretches from the Florida coast to the Yucatan Peninsula, a total of 3500 miles and 643 quadrillion gallons of water.
Warm currents feed hurricanes
One of the reasons why the Gulf sees so many hurricanes is because its warm currents help feed Atlantic hurricanes. With climate change increasing the temperatures further, we can expect hurricanes to increase in frequency and intensity.
It has incredible biodiversity
As we said before, the Gulf of Mexico is home to thousands of species—15,419 to be exact. This includes fish, crustaceans, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks (not to mention the thousands of humans that live along its coasts). However, as rich as this ecosystem is, 52 of them are critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable due to overfishing and pollution.
The Gulf powers much of the U.S.
The Gulf of Mexico is a major source of oil for the United States. In fact, it’s responsible for 54% of oil production in the U.S., and 47% of natural gas production. However, this does have a downside, such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 which poured an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil in the Gulf.
It was first explored in 1497
The first European to explore the Gulf of Mexico was Amerigo Vespucci in 1497, sailing along the Central American coast and through the Gulf on his way to the Straits of Florida. From there, the Gulf was further explored by various Europeans throughout the 1500s. Some made the journey successfully, but just as many did not, resulting in a plethora of shipwrecks in the Gulf.
The Gulf of Mexico is truly a wonder, so why not go out and enjoy it? At Woody’s Watersports, we have jet ski rentals and tiki tours that will help you truly appreciate the majesty of the Gulf. Give us a call at 727-391-0200 to learn more.