California, Gulf of
- or Sea of CortésGulf separating Baja California from the rest of Mexico.Its area is about 59,000 sq mi (153,000 sq km). Its waters were coloured by red plankton when 16th-century Spanish explorers named it Mar Bermejo ("Vermilion Sea"). Some geologists hold that the gulf is structurally part of the Pacific Ocean; others claim Baja California is pulling away from the continent as it moves north along the San Andreas Fault, allowing the gulf to form.
* * *also called Sea of Cortez , Spanish Golfo de California , or Mar de Cortéslarge inlet of the eastern Pacific Ocean along the northwestern coast of Mexico. It is enclosed by the Mexican mainland to the east and by the mountainous peninsula of Baja California to the west. There are two schools of thought as to the origin of the gulf. One holds that it is structurally a part of the Pacific Ocean; the other is that Baja California is slowly pulling away from the continent as it moves north along the great San Andreas Fault system. Over the last 100 million years the peninsula's movement has probably totaled 300 miles (480 km). There also may have been some vertical movement forcing the peninsula upward and the gulf downward.The gulf is about 750 miles (1,200 km) long and an average of 95 miles (153 km) wide (about 200 miles [320 km] at its mouth). The gulf has a total surface area of 62,000 square miles (160,000 square km). It is divided into two sections separated by a narrowing marked by the large islands of Angel de la Guarda and Tiburón. The northern portion is shallow, seldom exceeding 600 feet (180 metres) in depth. In the south are several depressions, the deepest of them reaching to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 metres). A powerful tidal bore rushing between the two creates the treacherous Salsipuedes Basin, long an obstacle to navigation. The gulf receives the Colorado River through a large delta at its head and the Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Yaqui rivers across a wide coastal plain from the east. Ports along its shores include La Paz, on Baja California peninsula, and Guaymas, on the mainland Mexican coast. The gulf has some of Mexico's richest commercial fishing grounds, with shrimp, tuna, and sardines among the leading species caught. Many small ports along the gulf have sport-fishing fleets that are dependent on game fish. Some pearling is done along the southwest coast.An expedition commanded by Nuñez de Guzmán and dispatched by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés (Cortés, Hernán, marqués del Valle de Oaxaca) reached the gulf in 1532 but did not realize that it was a gulf. Three years later Cortés himself led a second party across the gulf to the Baja peninsula, which was then believed to be an island. In 1539 Spanish explorer Francisco de Ulloa proved that Baja California was a peninsula rather than an island, and he named the gulf Mar Bermejo (“Vermilion Sea”) because of the impressive red plankton that is found in its waters. Nevertheless, the myth that the gulf was an island perpetuated into the 18th century.
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California,Gulf of — California, Gulf of An arm of the Pacific Ocean in northwest Mexico separating Baja California from the mainland. * * * … Universalium
California, Gulf of — geographical name arm of the Pacific NW Mexico between Baja California & states of Sonora & Sinaloa … New Collegiate Dictionary
California, Gulf of — inlet of the Pacific, W Mexico, betw. Lower California and the rest of Mexico … Webster's Gazetteer
California, Gulf of — … Useful english dictionary
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Gulf of California — For the book by John Steinbeck, see The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Coordinates: 28°0′N 112°0′W / 28°N 112°W / 28; 1 … Wikipedia
gulf — gulflike, adj. gulfy, adj. /gulf/, n. 1. a portion of an ocean or sea partly enclosed by land. 2. a deep hollow; chasm or abyss. 3. any wide separation, as in position, status, or education. 4. something that engulfs or swallows up. v.t. 5. to… … Universalium
California — Californian, adj., n. /kal euh fawrn yeuh, fawr nee euh/, n. 1. a state in the W United States, on the Pacific coast. 23,668,562; 158,693 sq. mi. (411,015 sq. km). Cap.: Sacramento. Abbr.: CA (for use with zip code), Cal., Calif. 2. Gulf of, an… … Universalium
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