So Where’s the Tyrrhenian Sea?

I was doing my usual crossword puzzles the other morning and came across the clue: “Tyrrhenian Sea Resort.”  I failed on that one.  Could you have answered it?  With five letters I might have guessed it to be Capri, but I cheated and looked it up on Google. I use Google all the time for things like that. You too?  Anyway I discovered that the Sea is a big one that lies on the western coast of Italy between Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily.  So now that we senior citizens know where it is, let’s see what else we can find out about it.  (My wife steps in here and decides that we need to get a cup of coffee and just enjoy a bit of geography this morning:))

This Sea is Deep

The Tyrrhenian Sea was named for the Tyrrhenian people, identified since the 6th century BCE with the Etruscans of Italy. From my crossword puzzle and that resort, I went to Bing and found these super photos to share with you. In addition to Corsica, Elba, Sardinia and Sicily, this sea contains many popular small islands, including Capri, Elba and Ustica, and the active volcano of Stomboli.

Cagliari, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo are its chief ports and the Strait of Messina connects it with the Ionian Sea. There’s another travel blog.  Incidentally it connects with the Ligurian Sea to the northwest. I did not know about that sea either. It is connected with the Ligurian Sea on the northwest through the Tuscan Archipelago. I didn’t  know that either.  Near its center the Tyrrhenian reaches a maximum depth of 12,300 feet (3,750 m). Sounds like a geography class to me and this senior citizen happens to love geography.

For You ‘Rock Hound’ Senior Geologists

The Sea is located near where the African and European tectonic plates meet; therefore mountain chains and active volcanoes for example, Mount Marsili, are found there. Seniors will learn that eight Aeolian Islands and Ustica are found in the southern part of the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of Sicily. The Tyrrhenian Sea is separated into two basins, or plains, the Vavilov plain and the Marsili plain. They are divided by the undersea ridge known as the Issel Bridge. The Tyrrhenian Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea (c.760 km/475 mi long and 97 km/60 mi wide) surrounded by mainland Italy.

Well, this has turned into one of those cases where a boy asked his father about blue jays and he gave him an encyclopedia on birds. Incidentally there is a new active volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea. A strong earthquake occurred in 2002 off-shore from the northern coast of Sicily in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, and was followed by a series of hundreds of aftershocks and boom…a new volcano. So, if your senior curiosity has been aroused and you want more including some nice videos, check these out.  jeb




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