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Marine Places

North Sea

Water from the Atlantic enters the North Sea between the Shetland and Orkney Islands, flowing south down the Scottish and English coasts. Warmer Atlantic water also enters from the English Channel and flows east along the Dutch coast, resulting in a counterclockwise circulation. The largest sand banks on the North Sea floor, including the Dogger, Jutland, and Fisher banks, are terminal moraines marking the southern edge of the ice sheet during the last ice age, when the bottom of the sea was exposed by lower sea levels. A trough located to the west of the Norwegian Trench is buried under thick sediments that contain oil and gas deposits.

Oil Rig in the North Seazoom image
  • Area 220,000 square miles (570,000 square km)
  • Maximum Depth 2,300 ft (700 m)
  • Inflows North Atlantic; Elbe, Weser, Ems, Rhine, Scheldt, Thames, Humber rivers