Drake Passage


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Drake Passage

Mains level : Oceanic Circulations

  • In a first, six rowers from four countries crossed the Drake Passage, in just under two weeks setting up a new Guinness World Records (GWR).
  • Last year, an all-woman Indian Navy team on Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini had also successfully crossed Passage.

Drake Passage

  • The Passage is located between Cape Horn at the tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • It is named after Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.
  • It has an average depth of about 11,000 feet, with deeper regions going up to over 15,600 feet near the northern and southern boundaries.

Why is it considered so treacherous?

  • The Drake Passage is considered one of the roughest waterways in the world because here, layers of cold seawater from the south and warm seawater from the north collide to form powerful eddies.
  • This eddies when combined with strong winds and storms can be treacherous for those attempting to navigate it.
  • It is also the narrowest stretch in the Southern Ocean and spans approximately 800 km between the southern tip of South America and the northern tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula.
  • The waters of the passage are highly turbulent, unpredictable, and frequented by icebergs and sea ice.
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