Gulf of Thailand
A semi-enclosed extension of the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand lies between the Malay Peninsula and Indochina. The gulf contains offshore natural gas, and some oil deposits. Its shallow waters are largely fed by fresh river water inflow, principally from the Chao Phraya River. This river input gives the surface waters a relatively low salinity, while salt water from the main part of the South China Sea only enters deep down, pooling in areas deeper than 160 ft (50 m). Coral reefs thrive in the warm water, and there is a strong tourist industry based around good dive sites, such as the island of Ko Samui. Mangrove forests provide a buffer between land and sea along much of the coast, offering a habitat to many marine organisms, but their existence is threatened by recent clearance for shrimp farms.
- Area 124,000 square miles (320,000 square km)
- Maximum Depth 262 ft (80 m)
- Inflows South China Sea, Chao Phraya River