- Inland sea
An inland sea is a shallow
seathat covers central areas of continents during high stands of sea levelthat result in marine transgressions. In modern days continents stand high, eustatic sea levels are low, and there are few inland seas, none larger than the Caspian Sea. Modern examples might also include the recently (less than 10,000 years ago) reflooded Persian Gulf, and the South China Seathat presently covers the Sunda Shelf. [The Lord Howe Risethat covers much of the sunken "continent" of Zealandia and the largely-submerged Mascarene Plateauthat includes the Granitic Group islands of the Seychellescould not be considered "inland"]
geologic time scale, inland seas have been greater in extent and more common.
*A vast inland sea extended from the
Gulf of Mexicodeep into present-day Canadaduring the Cretaceous. See the Western Interior Seaway.
*At the same time, much of the low plains of modern-day northern France and northern Germany were inundated by an inland sea, where the chalk was deposited that gave the
CretaceousPeriod its name.
*The Amazon, originally emptying into the Pacific, as South America rifted from Africa, found its exit blocked by the rise of the Andes about 15 mya. A great inland sea developed, at times draining north through what is now Venezuela before finding its present eastward outlet into the South Atlantic. Gradually this inland sea became a vast freshwater lake and wetlands where sediment flattened its profiles and the marine inhabitants adapted to life in freshwater. Over 20 species of
stingray, most closely related to those found in the Pacific Ocean, can be found today in the freshwaters of the Amazon, which is also home to a freshwater dolphin. In 2005 fossilized remains of a giant crocodilian, estimated to have been 46 ft (14m) in length, were discovered in the northern rainforest of Amazonian Peru[http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_12-9-2005_pg6_6] .
*In Australia the promise of an expected inland sea was one of the prime motives of inland exploration of
Australiaduring the 1820s and 1830s. The main champions of the theory were Charles Sturtand John Oxley, but it had a number of other supporters. Notable sceptics included Edward John Eyre.
Baltic Seais a brackish inland sea, alleged to be the largest body of brackish water in the world (other possibilities include the Black Sea). It occupies a basin formed by glacial erosion.
Mediterranean sea (oceanography)
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