What is strait? Definition and classification

There are cases when it is quite easy to get confused in terminology related to a particular field. For example, many people often confuse the words “addressee” and “addressee” because of the similarity of the sound. Terminology related to geography is the same. Bay or strait? This article will be phased out what the strait is. There will also be highlighted the characteristics and classification so that there is no longer any doubt about what term to use.

Meaning of the word "strait"

Water spaces occupy most of our planet. These are rivers, lakes, oceans, straits, etc. What does the word “strait” mean? This is a body of water that lies between different parts of the land and unites adjacent water basins. Often the path through the strait is the shortest and shortest. Therefore, bridges are built that combine different parts of the land. It relieves and facilitates transport links.


Having dealt with the fact that such a passage, you can go to the classification. There are several large groups that stand out for various reasons.

In relation to the continents

In this group there are straits that separate different parts of the same continent. They can also separate islands and continents. This subtype includes, for example, the Strait of Magellan, which lies between the continental part of South America and the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego.

The Strait of Magellan between South America and the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.

Straits can also be located between two islands. For example, Bonifacio separates the islands of Corsica and Sardinia and is a kind of bridge between the Mediterranean Sea and the Tyrrhenian.

And of course, the strait can lie between two different continents. Bering is located between Asia and North America, separating them.

Bering Strait between Asia and North America

In relation to the ocean basin

Straits can be located in the basin of one ocean. For example, Tsugaru lies between two islands of Japan, connecting the Sea of ​​Japan and the Pacific Ocean.

Tsugaru Strait between two islands of Japan

The straits can also connect the basins of two different oceans. Beringovna only divides the two continents, but also unites the basins of the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.

Straits and their status

The straits have not only different location, but also have certain international legal status. For example, they can be used for international shipping. Such straits give transit passage rights to all states.

They can also connect parts of the high seas / exclusive economic zone and the territorial sea of ​​states. In such cases, foreign ships may exercise the right of innocent passage.

Also, the mode of passage through some straits is regulated by certain international conventions.

Characteristics of the straits

In order to finally understand what the straits are, you need to understand their characteristics. The strait characterizes the length and width, the greatest and the least depth. Also determined by the flow rate and its direction.

So what is the strait? Summarizing all the above, we can conclude that this term refers to the water space separating different land areas, located in one or connecting different water basins and having its own specific characteristics.

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