Difference Between Sea and Gulf (With Table)

The different forms of water present on Earth are oceans, seas, gulfs, bays, rivers, ice on mountains, groundwater, etc.

Seawater is a large and shallow body of saltwater that originated from the ocean and is enclosed by land, partially or wholly. It is found near the land of a country which acts as a connection between ocean and land. 

The gulf is part of a sea or ocean that is mostly surrounded by land. Gulf has a narrow opening that connects a gulf with sea or ocean.

Sea vs Gulf

The difference between sea and gulf is that the sea is a larger body of saltwater, and the gulf is a smaller body of saltwater, both originating from the ocean. Humans use the sea and gulf in different forms as the sea can be used for industrial purposes while the gulf can be used for a harbor.

Sea is the shallow saltwater body that is in some way fragmented off from the larger ocean by a bunch of land such as an island. It can also be engulfed continental basin and isolated from the ocean. Sea is found on the edge of the ocean and partially enclosed by land.

A gulf is defined as a body of water enclosed by land connecting it to a larger body of water such as ocean or sea. It is the part of a sea that deeply penetrates the land and is surrounded by land. It has a narrow opening or looks like a narrow, deep inlet of the sea.

Comparison Table Between Sea and Gulf

Parameters of Comparison Sea Gulf
AreaLarger than a gulf.Smaller in area, it is a part of sea or ocean.
ConnectionSea can be landlocked or connected by a strait to a larger body of water, ocean.Always connected to a larger body of water by a strait.
FormationSea can be formed when sea level rises, causing shallow regions of continental crust to be flooded.The gulf is formed when tectonic activity creates continental basins on the margin of oceans, seas, or large water bodies that become flooded with water when sea or water level rises.
GeologySea contains sediments from river delta like sand, silt, and mud. They are lithified into rocks.Gulf can contain large deposits of carbonate, or if there are deposits of sand, silt, and mud, they take the shape of a fan.
Largest AreaPhilippine sea with an area of 5.695 million km^2.The Gulf of Mexico with an area of 1.554 million km^2.
ExamplesPhilippine sea, Red sea, south china sea, Weddell sea, Arabian sea, Coral sea, Caribbean sea, Mediterranean sea,The Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Bothnia, etc.

What is Sea?

Sea is the saltwater body that is parted off from the ocean; it is sometimes enclosed by land. Sea is smaller than an ocean and is usually located where the land and ocean meet.

The sea contains deposits of sand, silt, and mud derived from rivers emptying through deltas. Sediments are generally made of silicate minerals such as quartz and mica. They become lithified into rocks such as sandstone and mudstone. Some sediments contain more carbonate minerals such as calcite. These sediments are lithified into limestone.

Climate moderation, water, carbon, and nitrogen cycle on Earth are some important roles that the sea plays. Due to the abundance of sodium chloride in the seawater, salt is being extracted by humans. Sea can also be used by humans in more ways like traveling, trading, fishing, generation of power scuba diving, etc. It has been used by humans for ages.

What is Gulf?

At various locations throughout a sea, many zones being surrounded by land surface and having a slender opening are present. These zones are called the gulf. 

The gulf is generally connected to the ocean and more enclosed by landmass. The gulf is being used for harboring and trading because of its semicircular shape.

The Gulf of Mexico is the world’s largest gulf, present at the borders of the United States, Mexico, and the island nation of Cuba. Its coastline is about 5,000 km. Gulfs are generally named after the cities or countries that they are surrounded by, there are many gulfs, but few are very popular.

Main Differences Between Sea and Gulf

  1. Sea is the part of the ocean which is enclosed by land in some parts, but the gulf is the part of the sea which is surrounded by land with a narrow opening to the sea or ocean.
  2. Sea makes the larger part of the water body on the Earth while the gulf makes a smaller part as compared to the sea as it is present near the coastline of the country.
  3. Sea can contain abundant deposits of sand, silt, and mud derived from rivers that empty into the sea through deltas, which are predominantly silicate minerals. While gulf can contain sediments of sand, silt, and mud which can become a submarine fan.
  4. Sea can be used by humans for trade, travel, power generation, etc., while gulf can be mainly for harboring of ships, fishing, and export and import purposes. 
  5. An example of the largest sea is the Philippine sea covering an area of about 5.7 million km^2, while the largest gulf is the Gulf of Mexico, with an area near about 1.6 million km^2.

Conclusion

At various locations throughout a sea, many zones being surrounded by land surface and having a slender opening are present. These zones are called the gulf. 

The gulf is generally connected to the ocean and more enclosed by landmass. The gulf is being used for harboring and trading because of its semicircular shape. The Gulf of Mexico is the world’s largest gulf, present at the borders of the United States, Mexico, and the island nation of Cuba. Its coastline is about 5,000 km. Gulfs are generally named after the cities or countries that they are surrounded by, there are many gulfs, but few are very popular.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1464343X0500124X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0198014979900402

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