Key Facts about Strait of Gibraltar

1 min read
Key Facts about Strait of Gibraltar Blog Image


Iran has recently threatened to close the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea unless Israel stops bombing Gaza.

About Strait of Gibraltar

  • It is a narrow waterway separating Europe from Africa and connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Until the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the Strait of Gibraltar served as the only access point to the Mediterranean Sea. 
  • Borders: It is bordered by Spain and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar in the north, and by the African country of Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Ceuta in the south.
  • It is about 58 km long and has a width of about 13 km at its narrowest point.
  • Its depth ranges from 300 to 900 meters, and it forms a significant gap between the high plateau of Spain and the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa.
  • Geological studies have revealed that the strait was formed due to the northward movement of the African Plate towards the European Plate.
  • It is one of the busiest waterways in the world. Approximately 300 ships cross the Strait every day, about one ship every 5 minutes. 
  • An important port located on the strait is the Moroccan port of Tanger-Med, near Tangier.
  • Pillars of Heracles:
    • The strait’s eastern end, located between the Rock of Gibraltar in the north and Mount Hacho or Jebel Moussa in the south, has a width of about 23 km.
    • These two land features on the strait’s eastern extremity are known as the Pillars of Heracles. 

Q1) What is a Strait?

A strait can be defined as a naturally formed narrow strip of water between two continents, islands or two larger bodies of water. It is usually used for navigational purposes and is sometimes referred to as a channel when it is found between two land masses.

Source: Iran threatens to shut Strait of Gibraltar as tensions ramp up