The Gulf of Suez marks the border between Africa and Asia, stretching 300 kilometres from the tip of the Sinai Peninsula to the Egyptian city of Suez at the northern edge of the Gulf.
The Red Sea is split by the Sinai Peninsula into two branches, creating the Gulf of Suez to the west, with both sides of the channel in Egypt, and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, which stretches between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, bordering Israel and Jordan along its northern edge.
The two gulfs are easily spotted from the air due to their finger-like appearance, stretching up either side of the Sinai Peninsula.
The Gulf of Suez was formed by tectonic forces in the Earth’s crust 28 million years ago.
These forces, driven by processes beneath the Earth’s surface, caused the Arabian and African continents to be pulled away from one another.
This caused initial stretching and then fracturing and tearing as the stress between them built up.
This crack between the plates became the centre of the Gulf of Suez Rift, which provided the basin into which the Red Sea flowed to create today’s landscape.
A number of smaller basins were created by segments in the rift, creating an undulating seabed beneath the Red Sea with deeper and shallower sections.
Surface evidence can also be seen of these incredible forces when looking at either side of the gulf from the air.
A series of rock formations are aligned parallel to the shoreline, reflecting the direction of force build up and movement.
The centre-line of the Gulf also marks the official border between the African and Asian continents.
It is structurally and culturally an important divide between countries and continents, marking the physical boundary between northern Africa and the Arab territories of the Middle East.