The Sargasso Sea is a region in the gyre in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This system of ocean currents forms the North Atlantic Gyre. All the currents deposit the marine plants and refuse they carry into this sea.
The Sargasso Sea is 1,100 km wide and 3,200 km long (700 statute miles wide and 2,000 statute miles long). It stretches from roughly 70 degrees west to 40 degrees west, and from 20 degrees north to 35 degrees north. Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea. The ocean water in the Sargasso Sea is distinctive for its deep blue color and exceptional clarity, with underwater visibility of up to 200 feet (61 m).
Portuguese sailors were among the first to discover this region in the 15th century, naming it after the Sargassum seaweed growing there (sargaço / sargasso in Portuguese). However, the sea may have been known to earlier mariners, as a poem by the late 4th century AD author, Rufus Festus Avienus, describes a portion of the Atlantic as being covered with seaweed, citing a now-lost account by the 5th-century BC Carthaginian explorer Himilco the Navigator. Christopher Columbus and his men also noted the Sargasso Sea, and brought reports of the masses of seaweed on the surface.
The Sargasso Sea is home to seaweed of the genus Sargassum, which floats en masse on the surface there. The sargassum is not a threat to shipping, and historic incidents of sailing ships being trapped there are due to the often calm winds of the horse latitudes.
The Sargasso Sea also plays a major role in the migration of the European eel and the American eel. The larvae of both species hatch there and go to Europe or the East Coast of North America. Later in life, they try to return to the Sargasso Sea to lay eggs. It is also believed that after hatching, young Loggerhead Sea Turtles use currents, such as the Gulf Stream to travel to the Sargasso Sea, where they use the Sargassum as cover from predation until they are mature.
The Sargasso Sea was the subject of a recent metagenomics effort called the Global Ocean Sampling (GOS) survey by J. Craig Venter and others, to evaluate the diversity of microbial life there. The results have indicated that, contrary to previous theories, the area has a wide variety of prokaryotic life.
Owing to surface currents, the Sargasso accumulates a high concentration of non-biodegradable plastic waste. The huge North Atlantic Garbage Patch in the area is similar to another ocean phenomenon, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Depictions in popular culture
The Sargasso Sea is often portrayed in literature and the media as an area of mystery.
In 1846 Edward Forbes hypothesized a post-Miocene land mass extending westward from Europe into the Atlantic. "If this land existed it did not extend to America (for the fossils of the Miocene of America are representative & not identical): where then was the edge or coastline of it, Atlantic-wards? Look at the form & constancy of the great fucus-bank & consider that it is a Sargassum bank". 
The Sargasso Sea features in classic fantasy stories by William Hope Hodgson, such as his novel The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" (1907), Victor Appleton's Don Sturdy novel, Don Sturdy in the Port of Lost Ships: Or, Adrift in the Sargasso Sea, and several related short stories. Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea describes the Sargasso Sea and gives an account of its formation.
The 1923 silent film The Isle of Lost Ships, an atmospheric adventure from director Maurice Tourneur, takes place in the Sargasso Sea. The film was based on Crittenden Marriott's 1909 novel The Isle of Dead Ships. The Isle of Lost Ships is now a lost film.
The Sargasso Sea was the venue for the Doc Savage adventure "The Sargasso Ogre" written by Lester Dent under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson and published in the October 1933 issue of the Doc Savage pulp magazine.
The 1955 science fiction novel Sargasso of Space by Andre Norton is the story of a planet full of derelict star ships. This the first in a series of novels about a young spacer named Dane Thorson and his adventures aboard an independent trading vessel called the "Solar Queen". In this novel the crew of the Solar Queen find themselves stranded on a planet that pulls in and forever traps star ships. ISBN 0-911682-22-8
The 1960-62 live action/marionette children's syndicated television show, Diver Dan contained at least two episodes set in the Sargasso Sea, Ep. 21 "Sargasso Sea" and Ep. 22 "Lost in the Sargasso Sea". For many children of the baby boomer generation, that was their first introduction to the existence and novelty of the Sargasso Sea.
The first episode of Jonny Quest: Season 1, Episode 1 (18 Sep. 1964), The Mystery of the Lizard Men. A foreign power uses the Sargasso Sea to conduct laser experiments and employs "lizard men" to scare away potential interlopers.
Edwin Corley's novel, Sargasso, revolves around a fictional account of Apollo 19 splashing down in the Sargasso sea empty. In Marvel 1602, it is where the Fantastick Four gained their powers. Jean Rhys's 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea plays with the idea that a woman can become lost in her own society and thus driven out of her mind, à la Charlotte Brontë's mad woman in the attic. Fred Andrew's mystery novel Plato's Pond  features the fictitious land of Gaia, which is a continent in the middle of the Sargassum Sea.
The 1968 movie The Lost Continent was set in a highly fictionalized Sargasso Sea where Spanish galleons, trapped for centuries in seaweed, are found in modern times, along with a society of descendants of Conquistadores and sea monsters.
In the 1973 episode "The Time Trap" of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the USS Enterprise becomes trapped in "a pocket in the garment of time". Capt. Kirk makes the comment, "It's like a vast Saragasso Sea [sic]. A graveyard of ships from every civilization imaginable." 
The self-titled debut album of guitarist Michael Lee Firkins from 1990 contains an instrumental song called "The Sargasso Sea".
The 1999 video game Alpha Centauri features a special map tile called New Sargasso which contains a lot of native life, dangerous to the player if he is not prepared.
The instrumental jam band Lotus released a double live album in May, 2007, titled "Escaping Sargasso Sea" (SCI Fidelity Records). It was nominated for a Jammy award by Guitar Player magazine for "Best Live Album of 2007". The album was described by Relix magazine as "sexy and sophisticated dance music, mature enough to be played in the club or the living room".
The final track on the album Anastasis (2012), "All in Good Time", from the group Dead Can Dance opens with an allusion to the Sargasso Sea:
"All your ships / Have left their moorings / Cast adrift / On the Sargasso Sea / Waiting for the wind / To set your sails free"
The Yu-Gi-Oh! card "Ancient Battlefield of the Different Dimention - Sargasso" alludes to this sea.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Sargasso Sea.|
- "Sargasso Sea". World Book 15. Field Enterprises. 1958.
- "Wide Sargasso Sea". Book Drum.
- "The Sargasso Sea". BBC - Homepage. BBC. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
- "Sargasso". Straight Dope.
- "Turtles return home after UK stay". BBC News. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- "The trash vortex". Greenpeace. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- Ruth Heller (2000). A Sea Within a Sea: Secrets of the Sargasso. Price Stern Sloan. ISBN 978-0-448-42417-0.
- Forbes' letter to Darwin
- Jules Verne (trans. by William Butcher) (1870/2001). 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-282839-8.
- Ezra Pound. "Portrait D'une Femme". Shmoop. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "The Sargasso Ogre". The Fantastic Adventures of Doc Savage. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- Dent, Lester (2007). Doc Savage Reprint #7: The Lost Oasis and The Sargasso Ogre. Nostalgia Ventures. ISBN 1-932806-71-7.
- "When Once The Twilight Locks No Longer". Retrieved 2012-08-24.
- "Diver Dan: Ep 21 Sargasso Sea (1961)". Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- "Diver Dan: Ep 22 Lost in the Sargasso Sea (1961)". Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- "Jonny Quest: The Mystery of the Lizard Men". Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- Fred Andrews. "Kemper Conseil Publishing". Kemperconseil.nl. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Star Trek: The Animated Series - The Time Trap". CBS. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
- Space Pirate Captain Harlock#episodes|Episode 13, The Castle of Evil in the Sea of the Death.
- "ST3 on Discodogs". Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "Jammy Awards Announce 7th Jammy Awards Nominations", Guitar Player
- Hect, Jared (2007) "Escaping Sargasso Sea" (review), Relix, 6 December 2007
- "Scale the Summit". Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- Sargasso Sea Alliance
- Skeptoid #132: The Sargasso Sea and the Pacific Refuse Patch at Skeptoid
- What's the story on the Sargasso Sea? (The Straight Dope)
- Photos of organisms living in the Sargasso Sea
Read in another language
This page is available in 50 languages
- Bahasa Indonesia
- Norsk bokmål
- Олык марий
- Simple English
- Tiếng Việt