The Strait of Gibraltar (Arabic: مضيق جبل طارق, Spanish: Estrecho de Gibraltar) is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq (meaning "Tariq's mountain") named after Tariq ibn Ziyad. The Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat, meaning "Gate of Charity". It is also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, or STROG (Strait Of Gibraltar), in naval use and as the "Pillars of Hercules" (Greek: Ηράκλειες Στήλες) in the ancient world.
Europe and Africa are separated by 7.7 nautical miles (14.3 km; 8.9 mi) of ocean at the strait's narrowest point. The Strait's depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres (160 and 490 fathoms; 980 and 3,000 ft) which possibly interacted with the lower mean sea level of the last major glaciation 20,000 years before present when the level of the sea was believed to be lower by 110–120 m (60–66 fathoms; 360–390 ft). Ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes. The Spanish side of the Strait is protected under El Estrecho Natural Park.
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Famous quotes containing the word strait:
“We approached the Indian Island through the narrow strait called Cook. He said, I xpect we take in some water there, river so high,never see it so high at this season. Very rough water there, but short; swamp steamboat once. Dont paddle till I tell you, then you paddle right along. It was a very short rapid. When we were in the midst of it he shouted paddle, and we shot through without taking in a drop.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)