What facts about the Red Sea should you know before you go? This Red Sea is a fascinating body of water to study, whether for tourism or geology purposes. But what are the most fascinating facts about the Red Sea and why do they matter? Read on to find out…
- Fascinating Facts About the Red Sea
- 1. Red Sea Isn’t Actually Red In Color
- 2. Red Sea Might’ve Been Mentioned in Holy Books
- 3. It Has a Rich Marine Ecosystem
- 4. Red Sea Has Many Mineral Resources
- 5. Red Sea Offers an Important Source of Livelihood
- 6. The Red Sea is Extremely Salty
- 7. The Red Sea Has 521 Islands
- 8. The Creation of the Red Sea
- 9. No River Flows Into the Red Sea
- 10. The Red Sea Has Many Shipwrecks
- 11. The Suez Canal Connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea
- 12. The Red Sea Remains Warm Most of the Time!
- 13. The Fastest Fish is Found in the Red Sea
- 14. You Can Float on the Red Sea
- 15. The Red Sea is Known for Scuba-Diving and Snorkelling
- 16. Several Countries Border the Red Sea
Fascinating Facts About the Red Sea
The Red Sea is a hot topic for discussion for almost everybody, including me! After all, just the name is enough to fill you with questions. You must’ve also seen pictures of people floating peacefully and relaxing on the Red Sea, or even read about its vibrant ecosystem.
Although it is just a water body, there are a lot of amazing facts about the Red Sea that will satisfy your curiosity. Also, beware, after reading these facts about the Red Sea, you might also want to visit it!
The Red Sea has significance in every possible way that you can imagine – historical, economical, and even geographical.
So, in these facts about the Red Sea, you’ll get to know about pretty much everything.
1. Red Sea Isn’t Actually Red In Color
Before we talk about the other facts about the Red Sea, let’s start with the most basic one – its naming.
Most of us wonder if the Red Sea is actually red in colour, but the truth is it isn’t. There are also no gory stories here that gave the sea its name, the Red Sea. Instead, the Red Sea looks like any other sea, with its sparkling blue hues.
However, note that the sea may appear red once in a while, due to the presence of aquatic bacteria, Trichodesmium erythraeum. These bacteria grow and bloom abundantly in the Red Sea. Once they die, their pigmented bodies float on the surface, and make the sea appear reddish-brown!
Some people also have other reasoning for the sea’s unique name. They believe that the name was given due to the presence of a red-coloured mountain range, Harei Edom, present near the Red Sea.
2. Red Sea Might’ve Been Mentioned in Holy Books
There are many places and water bodies, from all over the world, that are mentioned in age-old holy books. According to some historians and scholars, the Red Sea is speculated to be one of the seas that is mentioned in the holy books, like the Bible.
In the Bible, the story follows the Israelites, and how they were blocked by the Egyptians, and surrounded by the Red Sea. It shows how God parted the Red Sea, just so the Israelites would be able to cross the land!
This is one of the facts about the Red Sea that is considered sacred by many people.
3. It Has a Rich Marine Ecosystem
If you love flora and fauna, then you’re going to love these facts about the Red Sea and its ecosystem.
Despite the hyper-saline conditions, the Red Sea has a rich marine ecosystem. There are over 1200 fish species in the Red Sea, including 44 species of sharks too! Some of the common fish species found here include Red Sea clownfish, Lionfish, Common dolphinfish, Puffers, and many more.
Apart from fish species, this sea is also a hotspot for corals. The coral reefs along the entire Red Sea are spread across over 2000 kilometres! The most beautiful corals that inhabit the sea are Whip Coral, Acropora, and Gorgonia.
Most of these fish and coral species have adapted to high temperatures and salt concentrations.
4. Red Sea Has Many Mineral Resources
This is one of the important facts about the Red Sea if you are curious about its mineral resources.
The Red Sea isn’t just rich in flora and fauna, but it also has many mineral deposits. The most common minerals found in the sea are evaporite deposits, petroleum deposits, phosphates, and sulphur. There have been many oil and natural gas deposits in the Red Sea too.
Despite having plenty of mineral resources, the Red Sea is quite hard to navigate due to fewer natural harbours and the extensive growth of coral reefs.
5. Red Sea Offers an Important Source of Livelihood
These facts about the Red Sea are about the economic importance of the Red Sea.
The Red Sea is surrounded by three countries – Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. These countries have invested heavily in exploring the natural gas and oil reserves in the Red Sea. Due to its rich marine ecosystem, the Red Sea is also crucial for the fishing industry.
Additionally, let’s not forget that the Red Sea is an important spot for tourism purposes. Many popular tourist cities in Egypt, like Sharm El Sheikh, Sinai, Dahab, and Hurghada, are located near the Red Sea!
The Red Sea is necessary for trade too, as it connects three continents – Asia, Africa, and Europe.
6. The Red Sea is Extremely Salty
This is one of the facts about the Red Sea that you might already know.
The Red Sea is one of the saltiest water bodies on the Earth. Typically, the salinity of other water bodies is around 3.5%. However, the Red Sea’s salinity is around 4.1%.
The reason why it has such a high salt content is its geographical region. If you see on the map, you’ll notice that the Red Sea is right near the Tropic of Cancer. Due to its location, the weather is generally dry and warm. This causes the water to evaporate faster, and leave behind dissolved salts.
The fun part is that it’s easier for you to float in the Red Sea because of the high salt concentration!
7. The Red Sea Has 521 Islands
Where there’s a sea, you’ll definitely find a few islands too! So, it’s not surprising that the Red Sea also has around 521 islands.
Out of these islands, the Red Sea governorate (one of the governorates of Egypt) has over 39 islands. Some of these islands include Abu Minqar, Qaysum, Umm al-Kayan, and Sahl Hasheesh. Moreover, in 2016, Egypt also transferred the ownership of two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia.
Also, did you know that not all islands in the Red Sea are old? Some of them were formed just a few years ago due to the volcanic eruptions.
Two islands, Sholan and Jadid, were formed in the years 2001 and 2013, respectively, in the Zubair archipelago located near Yemen.
8. The Creation of the Red Sea
If you love reading about the creation of different seas and regions, these facts about the Red Sea are for you.
Studies suggest that the Red Sea was formed after a continental drift. During the Eocene period, the land of Arabia and Africa started drifting away. The whole process even got accelerated in another historical period, the Oligocene period. This continental drift gave rise to the creation of the Red Sea.
According to a Canadian geophysicist, John Tuzo Wilson, the sea might even end up becoming an ocean at some point in time!
9. No River Flows Into the Red Sea
One of the reasons why the Red Sea is so salty is also because there are no major rivers or streams draining into it. Hence, there’s high evaporation, scanty rainfall, and less amount of water draining into the sea.
Now, you might wonder how the Red Sea remains full of water, despite these issues. Well, there’s a strait, known as the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Here, the Red Sea exchanges the water with other large water bodies, like the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea.
10. The Red Sea Has Many Shipwrecks
These facts about the Red Sea are for divers, and people who love shipwreck stories!
Just like the other water bodies, the waters of the Red Sea also have several shipwrecks hidden in them. Some of the most popular shipwrecks here include the SS Thistlegorm and the SS Carnatic.
The SS Thistlegorm was a British merchant navy ship during World War Two. The Germans bombed this ship, which caused it to sink into the Red Sea. Today, you can find the shipwreck at a depth of 30 metres (100 feet).
Unlike the SS Thistlegorm, the SS Carnatic ship was a British steamship, used for passenger and cargo purposes. In 1869, it sank into the Red Sea after hitting the coral reef.
Other shipwrecks that you’ll find in the Red Sea are Dunraven, Giannis D, and Umbria. All these shipwrecks have become popular areas for scuba divers today!
11. The Suez Canal Connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea
You might already know about the Suez Canal. After all, it is one of the most important maritime passages for global trade.
A significant reason why the Suez Canal is important for global trade is also because it connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It’s a man-made waterway, which passes through the Isthmus of Suez, and joins the Red Sea (south) to the Mediterranean Sea (north).
The Suez Canal provides a flexible route for trade between Europe and other continents such as Africa and the Middle East in Asia.
12. The Red Sea Remains Warm Most of the Time!
There are some water bodies that get cold or even frozen during some months. However, these facts about the Red Sea prove that it isn’t one of them.
As the Red Sea is located near the Tropic of Cancer, it is quite warm. Generally, the average temperature is around 66 Degrees Fahrenheit or 18 Degrees Celsius (including in winter months like December and January).
Note that during the summer months, the temperature reaches around 84 Degrees Fahrenheit or 28 Degrees Celsius!
So, if you’re planning to visit the Red Sea, you can get pleasant water temperatures in almost every season.
13. The Fastest Fish is Found in the Red Sea
In the above facts about the Red Sea, I’ve mentioned how it is home to many fish species and coral reefs. But, here’s one more fact – the fastest fish, Sailfish, is also found in the Red Sea!
Sailfish are around one metre long, and they can easily reach up to a speed of 68mph. To help you realise its quick speed, just know that the speed of humans is only around 3 to 6 mph!
Other than their speed, Sailfish also have a unique appearance. Just near the snout, you’ll find a long, rounded spear.
14. You Can Float on the Red Sea
Floating on the sea is a dream for people who aren’t so great at swimming. If that’s the case for you too, then you’re going to love these facts about the Red Sea.
Due to the high salinity in the Red Sea, you can float on its water too. Let’s understand the science behind it. When water has more salt to it, it becomes relatively heavier. Therefore, a lightweight object (such as a human) starts floating on it.
You cannot say the same for freshwater lakes or rivers, as they’ve low salinity due to which you won’t be able to float.
15. The Red Sea is Known for Scuba-Diving and Snorkelling
Do you love scuba diving and snorkelling? Then, you should know these facts about the Red Sea!
Scuba divers and snorkelers love the Red Sea for some underwater exploration. It’s one of the best areas for diving and snorkelling due to its vibrant marine ecosystem and coral reefs. Also, the allure of capturing the old shipwrecks gets the divers excited to explore the waters.
If you’re interested in scuba diving and snorkelling, you can check out some of the most popular diving spots in the Red Sea, such as the Blue Hole, Elphinstone Reef, and Ras Mohammed.
16. Several Countries Border the Red Sea
The Red Sea isn’t the largest sea. Yet, it borders around six countries!
If you look at it direction-wise, you’ll find that Egypt and Sudan border the Red Sea towards the eastern shore, whereas Saudi Arabia is towards the western shore.
Other small African countries like Djibouti and Eritrea are present near the eastern and northeastern parts, respectively. Towards the South, Yemen borders the Red Sea.
Facts About the Red Sea – Further Reading
Right from its unique name to its scintillating marine life, the Red Sea is a treat for all eager travel enthusiasts and explorers! I hope these facts about the Red Sea also helped you gather some information.
If you enjoyed reading these facts about the Red Sea and would love to know more about other such places, don’t forget to check out these articles as well!