The Mediterranean, Part 5: Alboran Sea

Traces of Places

The Alboran Sea is the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and North Africa (Morocco). The Strait of Gibraltar, which lies at the sea’s western end, connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Several small islands, including the eponymous Isla de Alborán, dot the sea, with most of them (even those located close to Africa) belonging to Spain.

The seafloor beneath the Alboran Sea marks the westernmost boundary of continental crust that was subducted between the African and Eurasian Plates when the Tethys Ocean closed around 50 million years ago. The sea also serves as a transition zone between ocean and sea, containing a mix of Mediterranean and Atlantic species, including the largest population of bottlenose dolphins and the last population of harbor porpoises in the Western Mediterranean. It is also the most important feeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles in Europe and hosts important commercial fisheries for sardines and swordfish.

  • Viewed/Cruised: 2018 (Málaga/Strait of Gibraltar)

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