Facts About the North Sea
The North Sea is a young and shallow epeiric sea, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean, bordered by the English Channel to its south and the Norwegian Sea to it's north.
The North Sea is a major fishery and important shipping area which is rich in energy resources and a popular recreational area.
The North Sea is known as a Marginal Sea, which is a sea that is almost completely bordered by submarine ridges - coastline - but is not entirely landlocked.
The North Sea is one of only nine epeiric seas across the world, which is a shallow body of water that covers a continental shelf formed by glacial deposits during the last ice age.
Due to these glacial deposits, the North Sea has been left with vast trenches of glacial sediment and hundreds of moving sand banks, making it one of the most treacherous seas to navigate in the world.
This also makes the North Sea a young body of water, just twenty thousand years old.
The North Sea is six hundred miles long, by three hundred and sixty miles wide and covers a surface area of some two hundred and ninety thousand square miles.
It has an average, overall depth of around three hundred feet, with its shallowest point, where it merges with the neighbouring English Channel at an area called Dogger Bank, which has a depth of less than one hundred feet.
This southern area of the North Sea, along with the English Channel, between them forms the busiest, commercial waterway in the world.
It's deepest point is situated with it's mergence with the Norwegian Sea at an area called the Norwegian Trench, where it's depth is two thousand, three hundred and seventy nine feet.
The North Sea is fed by way of several, large river systems from around Europe, including the major rivers of the Thames, Rhine and Elbe.
These rivers have formed many large, sandy basins with vast, marshy estuaries - caused by high winds causing vast areas of longshore drifting around the North Sea's coastline - which include the large basins of the Elbe, Ems, Forth, Humber, Moray Firth, Muese, Rhine, Scheldt, Spey, Tay, Tees, Thames, The Wash, Tyne, Waal and Weser.
The sea's most north easterly point flows into the neighbouring Baltic Sea via the seaway known as the Skagerrak, situated between the north of Denmark and the south of Sweden and Norway.
The North Sea is also home to over 50 island groups, most of which are situated in it's northern regions around it's Scottish and Danish coastlines, with the largest groups being the Scottish Orkney and Shetland islands situated between the coasts of Scotland and Norway and Denmark's Freisian Islands.
The North Sea's surrounding coastal flats have always been problematic areas for the inhabitants of this highly populated and industrialised area, caused by frequently low barometric pressure and strong winds from the wave action of multiple storm surges and storm tides, continually battering and subsequently eroding, it's very low lying coastline.
This has led to many serious floods over the years, resulting in the governments of these North Sea coastal countries to have to build several, major flood controls,defences, barriers and dams along their very fine sand and silt coastlines, particulary those of the very low lying countries of The Netherlands, Belgium and the south,east of England.
The North Sea is home to two hundred and thirty species of fish including vast commercially important numbers of cod, mackerel and herring. The North Sea also plays host to ten species of crustacean, including the popular Norwegian Lobster and various species of dolphin, porpoise, seal and whales.
The coastline and islands of the North Sea play host to an abundance of nature reserves, culminating in tens of millions of visiting bird species using the North Sea for feeding, breeding and migratory stopovers.
Commercially, the North Sea has several, rich reserves of natural gas, fossil fuels and oil and its trawler fishing industries make up five per cent of the world's overall fish catches.
The whole area has a high concentration of major European fishing, ferry and commercial ports, including Aberdeen and Peterhead in Scotland, Felixstowe and Hull in England, Antwerp,Ostende and Zeebrugge in Belgium, Rotterdam - the world's third largest container port - in The Netherlands and Bremerhaven in Germany.
The North Sea is also home to about forty, sustainable energy, wind farms, including the world's two largest farms situated on the Isle of Thanet off the coast of England, which consists of 100 turbines and Horns Rev 2 situated off the coast of Denmark, which consists of 80 turbines.
The North Sea coastal areas have a large recreationally important tourist industry made up of thousands of holiday resorts, nature reserves and the 37,000 mile long North Sea Trail which links seven North Sea coastal countries which endeavour to support sustainable tourism throughout the area.
This trail is also partnered with the six thousand kilometre long EuroVelo Route 12 or North Sea Cycle Trail, the world's longest cycle way, which is part of a system of twelve cycle routes around Europe, which links eight North Sea coastal countries across Northern Europe.
Europe's EuroVelo routes
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