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Name: Carl
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

What, if any, is the difference between the seas and the ocean?
I know that some seas are enclosed by land masses (i.e. Black Sea) and others aren't (i.e.Tasman Sea). Also what is the distinction between gulfs and bays?
I've checked encyclopedias and other various sources but have yet to find a satisfactory answer. Perhaps you could recommend a book.
Thank you for any info you can provide.

It's not a rigid definition. Seas are delineated by land masses, whether or not they are largely enclosed. They should also communicate with the ocean. The Meditteranean and Black seas qualify here, because saltwater actually flows IN to both those bodies of water. The Caspian Sea is, strictly speaking, not really a sea but instead the world's largest lake. Why aren't the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, Hudson Bay, and the Bay of Bengal not called seas? No real reason. It's just a matter of names. If different people had named them, they might have been called seas.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

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