Gripping Isthmus Of Panama Facts That Everyone Should Know! | Kidadl


Gripping Isthmus Of Panama Facts That Everyone Should Know!

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The Panama Canal, measuring 51 mi (82 km), has linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans since 1914.

Although the Panama Canal was built throughout Panama Isthmus, this particular isthmus was not the United States' first choice. They were inclined to build a canal throughout Nicaragua, which was dropped, as this zone had high volcanic activity.

Isthmuses have been natural regions for canals and ports, connecting aquatic and terrestrial trade routes, and separating two bodies of water. The Isthmus of Panama was historically called the Isthmus of Darien and is a narrow strip of land lying between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It also forms a link between North and South America. This isthmus contains the Panama Canal and the country of Panama . It has a high, strategic location, like other isthmuses. The Isthmus of Panama is believed to have formed about four billion years ago. It separated the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and was the cause for the creation of the Gulf Stream. Henry Fairfield Osborn, a North American paleontologist, suggested this in 1910 based on the mammal fossil records found in Central America. Alfred Wegner also proposed his theory of continental drift based on this foundation in 1912.

Geographic Location Of The Isthmus Of Panama

The shores of the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean are only around 37.2 mi (60 km) apart in Panama. This narrow strip of land, splitting two bodies of water, is embraced by Panama and also over 1,600 islands off the Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coast. The Caribbean Sea that extends from the Atlantic Ocean is located to the north of Panama and the Pacific Ocean on the south. The Pacific coastline stretches up to 1,060 mi (1,700 km), and the Caribbean Coast stretches up to 800 mi (1,290 km).

  • Another important isthmus is the isthmus of Suez, with the Suez Canal built through it. It lies between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, linking Asia and Africa.
  • The Pacific side is more irregular and indented, with its continental shelf a lot wider than the Atlantic side.
  • Both the Pacific and Atlantic sides of western Panama have different climatic conditions.
  • The Panama canal cuts this country into two halves, the eastern part and the western part.
  • Volcan Baru is the highest peak of Panama, where you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at the same time.
  • The longest river in Panama is the Chucunaque River that runs for 144 mi (231.7 km).
  • Central America contains seven countries, including Panama. The other six countries are Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

History Of The Isthmus Of Panama

Around 20 million years ago, North and South America were divided, where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans freely floated. The two tectonic plates beneath the surface of Earth were slowly colliding with each other, which forced the Pacific plate to slide beneath the Caribbean plate. The heat and pressure of this collision caused underwater volcanoes, and some even broke the ocean's surface, forming islands. For the next million years, more volcanic islands were formed. Meanwhile, these plates' movements also pushed the seafloor and forced a few regions above sea level.

  • In 1502, Columbus reached Panama by traveling along the coast from Costa Rica in his final voyage and claimed it for Spain.
  • The Spanish returned in 1510 and founded a settlement, which is now called Colombia.
  • The Spanish took around six years to colonize Panama's Pacific side.
  • Spanish is the official language of Panama. Other languages used in this country are indigenous languages and English.
  • Panama has two independence days. November 28, 1821, was the day that they got independence from Spain, and on November 3, 1903, they got independence from Gran Colombia.
  • It is said that the term Panama traditionally meant 'place of fishes'.
  • The Panamanian Balboa is the official currency of Panama. This was the first Latin American country to approve United States currency as the legal tender.
Panama Canal linked Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

Discovery Of The Isthmus of Panama

Cocle and Cueva tribes were the first inhabitants of the country of Panama, however, the population gradually reduced. The first European to reach Panama was Rodrigo de Bastidas, who sailed from Venezuela to search for gold in 1501. After 10 years, Vasco Nunez de Balboa reached Panama and established a settlement in the town. From 1538-1821, the Isthmus of Panama became a part of the Spanish Empire. In 1849, the California Gold rush started, leading to an increase in the movement of people between the Atlantic and Pacific. Gold diggers were brought in a ship from an eastern United States port.

  • The rainforests in Panama cover more than 40% of the country's area. This rainforest is the largest in the Western Hemisphere located outside of the Amazon Basin.
  • 164 amphibian species, 226 reptile species, and 218 mammal species in Panama's rainforest are not found anywhere in the world.
  • The Panama Canal has been listed as one of the 'Seven wonders of the modern world' by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • All vessels need to pay a toll to use the canal. This canal produces around one-third of the total revenue of Panama.
  • Panama took complete control over its canal from the United States in 1999.
  • The indigenous communities in Panama, like the Guna, the Naso Bribri, and Embera Wounaan, still have traditional lifestyles with their own customs, dialects, and languages.
  • The popular Panama hat does not originate from Panama but Ecuador. When Theodore Roosevelt was wearing one of these hats, he was photographed with it during his visit to the Panama Canal in the year 1904, which may have been the cause for this rumor.

Impact Of The Isthmus of Panama On Earth's Climate

An isthmus is a very thin strip of land that connects two larger bodies of land and has water bodies on either side. Scientists believe that the Isthmus of Panama's formation played a major role in geological events on Earth over the past 60 million years. The Isthmus of Panama impacted the environment and climate of our Earth. As the flow of two oceans between landmasses closed, the land bridge re-routed the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans' currents. As the Atlantic separated from the Pacific, it got saltier, and Europe got warmer. Today's pattern of world ocean circulation is impacted by such changes.

  • This isthmus indirectly and directly impacted atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns.
  • Biodiversity was also affected by the formation of this isthmus.
  • The land bridge made it easier for both plants and animals to migrate between both continents. For example, armadillo, porcupine, and opossum that occupied North America can be traced back to ancestors from South America that crossed this bridge.
  • Several ancestors of horses, bears, llamas, cats, raccoons, and dogs finished the trek south across Panama.
  • On the same day, the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean and sets over the Pacific Ocean.
  • Panama is located approximately 620 mi (1,000 km) above the equator.
  • It was discovered that climatic changes caused by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama are one of the factors that are responsible for human evolution and also the reason we came into existence.

<p>With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.</p>

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