Gibraltar, Strait of (jĭbrôlˈtər) [key], Lat. Fretum Herculeum or Fretum Gaditanum, passage, c.36 mi (58 km) long, connecting the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, between southernmost Spain and northwesternmost Africa. Its western limits are Cape Trafalgar (Spain) and Cape Spartel (Morocco); its eastern limits Gibraltar and Point Almina (just E of Ceuta, NW Africa). The strait's width ranges from 8 mi (12.9 km) off Point Marroquí to 27 mi (43 km) at the western entrance. The surface current in the strait flows east from the Atlantic; a countercurrent flows out from the Mediterranean at greater depth. The two promontories at the eastern entrance are the classical Pillars of Hercules.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.