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The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering about 20 percent of the earth's surface. It separates Europe and Africa to the east from North and South America to the west. Its name, which comes from the Greek, probably refers to Atlantis, the legendary island continent said to have been the site of a great civilization before the island suddenly disappeared.

 

The Atlantic extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to Antarctica in the south. It is over 16, 000 kilometers long and between 2, 900 kilometers and 8, 500 kilometers wide. The area of the Atlantic is about 106, 464, 000 square kilometers. Its average depth is around 3, 300 meters, and the maximum depth is 8, 380 meters in the Puerto Rico Trench, north of the island of Puerto Rico.

 

大西洋位于美洲之东,欧洲和非洲之西。大西洋的名字来源于希腊语,可能源于Atlantis岛屿,传说该岛位于大西洋,曾经有过伟大的文明,后来突然消失。大西洋是世界上面积仅次于太平洋的第二大洋。大西洋及边缘海域总面积为106460000平方公里,大约占地球总面积的五分之一。它的平均深度为3300,小于太平洋和印度洋的深度,这是因为其北部有广阔的大陆架,并且它的边缘海域较浅,这些海包括东部的挪威海、北海、波罗的海、地中海、黑海和西部的巴芬哈得孙湾、圣劳伦斯湾、墨西哥湾和加勒比海。赤道以南的大西洋更宽,两岸皆为大陆,很少有岛屿。大西洋的最深处位于波多黎各岛北部的波多黎各海沟,约有8380深。

 

(本文选自人民教育出版社《中学英语文化背景知识手册》,2008年8月第1版)

    
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