Is the Red Sea red?

The Red Sea owes its name to an algae that gives a red tinge to the water. This narrow inland sea is a branch of the Indian Ocean between north east Africa and the Arabian peninsula.

The Red Sea contains some of the world’s hottest and saltiest seawater. With its connection to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, it is one of the most heavily traveled waterways in the world, carrying maritime traffic between Europe and Asia. Its name is derived from the colour changes observed in its waters. Normally, the Red Sea is an intense blue-green; occasionally, however, it is populated by extensive blooms of the algae Trichodesmium erythraeum, which, upon dying off, turn the sea a reddish brown colour.

The Red Sea occupies part of a large rift valley in the continental crust of Africa and Arabia. This break in the crust is part of a complex rift system that includes the East African Rift System, which extends southward through Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania for almost 2,200 miles and northward for more than 280 miles from the Gulf of Aqaba to form the great Wadi Aqaba–Dead Sea–Jordan Rift; the system also extends eastward for 600 miles from the southern end of the Red Sea to form the Gulf of Aden.

The Red Sea valley cuts through the Arabian-Nubian Massif, which was a continuous central mass of Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks (i.e., formed deep within the Earth under heat and pressure more than 540 million years ago), the outcrops of which form the rugged mountains of the adjoining region. The massif is surrounded by these Precambrian rocks overlain by Paleozoic marine sediments (542 to 251 million years old). These sediments were affected by the folding and faulting that began late in the Paleozoic; the laying down of deposits, however, continued to occur during this time and apparently continued into the Mesozoic Era (251 to 65.5 million years ago). The Mesozoic sediments appear to surround and overlap those of the Paleozoic and are in turn surrounded by early Cenozoic sediments (i.e., between 65.5 and 55.8 million years old). In many places large remnants of Mesozoic sediments are found overlying the Precambrian rocks, suggesting that a fairly continuous cover of deposits once existed above the older massif.

Credit :  Britannica 

Picture Credit : Google

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