It’s often said that fact is stranger than fiction.
East of Florida the stretched and fractured land forms the Bahama Archipelago.
The Lucayan Archipelago (named for the original native Lucayan people), also known as the Bahama Archipelago, is an island group comprising the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The archipelago is in the western North Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba along with the other Antilles, and east and southeast of Florida.
East of southern Florida, large swaths of ocean water glow peacock blue.
These waters owe their iridescence to their shallow depths. Near Florida and Cuba, the underwater terrain is hilly, and the crests of many of these hills comprise the islands of the Bahamas.
On February 12, 2009, relatively clear skies allowed the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite an unobstructed view of the region.
The most striking feature of this image is the Great Bahama Bank, a massive underwater hill underlying Andros Island in the west, Eleuthera Island in the east, and multiple islands in between. … In fact, over the banks, the water depth is often less than 10 meters, but the surrounding basin plunges to depths as low as 4,000 meters.
Image of the Day for February 20, 2009 – The Bahamas
NASA Earth Observatory
A famous feature of the Bahamas bathymetry is TOTO: Tongue of the Ocean.
The Tongue of the Ocean (TOTO) is the name of a region of much deeper water in the Bahamas separating the islands of Andros and New Providence.
The TOTO is a U-shaped, relatively flat-bottomed trench approximately 32 km wide by 240 km long.
Its depth varies gradually from 1,100 m in the south to 2,000 m in the north.
Its only exposure to the open ocean is at the northern end.
Except for the northern ocean opening, the TOTO is surrounded by numerous islands, reefs, and shoals which make a peripheral shelter isolating it from ocean disturbances, particularly high ambient noise.
A less famous feature is the PHOTS: Plug Hole of the Sea.
The curved drainage channels around the Plug Hole of the Sea show where the waters of the inland seas swirled down the drain into the Atlantic Basin.
This extraordinary image captures the meeting place of the deep waters of the Tongue of the Ocean and the much shallower, completely submerged Grand Bahama Bank.
This platform reef drops off quickly into the branch of the Great Bahama submarine canyon that because of its shape is called the Tongue of the Ocean.
The vertical rock walls of the Canyon rise 14,060 feet from their greatest depth to the surrounding seabed, which is why the water is so dark in color compared to the reef.
The shallowest parts of the reef are no more than three to seven feet deep; so shallow, in fact, that in the northeast corner of the image you can zoom in and see large wave-sized ripples of sand on the bottom.
Like so many other biological structures, the ribbon-like form of the reef maximizes surface area and thus the number of organisms that can colonize the structure.
Tongue of the Ocean and Grand Bahama Bank
NASA – Jet Propulsion Laboratory – 4 Sept 2008
Similar drainage channels are found on the stretched edge of Western Europe.
The PHOTS drained the Western Interior Seaway.
The colour coded drainage basins [below] represent the old endorheic basins that drained away into the oceanic basins.
Join together the continental divides [black lines] on a smaller globe to visualise the landmass layout before the oceanic basins opened.
An endorheic basin (also endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a limited drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes or swamps, permanent or seasonal, that equilibrate through evaporation.
The PHOTS enabled the fictional TOTO to live in Kansas.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an American children’s novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900.
The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy in the magical Land of Oz, after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their Kansas home by a cyclone.
Castle Rock is a large limestone pillar landmark in Gove County, Kansas.
The chalk was deposited in the area by an ancient inland sea.
But that’s no reason to classify the PHOTS as fictional.