Tongue of the Ocean
The TOTO is a U-shaped, relatively flat-bottomed trench approximately 20 miles (32 km) wide by 150 miles (240 km) long with a depth which varies gradually from 3,600 feet (1,100 m) in the south to 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in the north. Its only exposure to the open ocean is at the northern end, and except for this 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.
This channel and the Providence Channel are the two main branches of the Great Bahama Canyon, a submerged geological feature formed by erosion during periods of lower sea level. During their early history the Tongue of the Ocean and the Providence Channels were broad, relatively shallow basins flanked by growing carbonate banks. As the Blake-Bahama platform subsided, sedimentation kept pace with subsidence on the banks, but not in the basins.
- U.S. Navy AUTEC Soundings, August 1969.
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