Where Can You Find the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

Quck answer

The Graveyard of the Atlantic is a stretch of treacherous waters off the coast of North Carolina in the United States. It earned its name due to the large number of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area over the years. The combination of strong currents, shifting shoals, and frequent storms make navigation dangerous, leading to countless vessels sinking or running aground. The graveyard is known for its diverse range of shipwrecks, including merchant ships, warships, and even pirate vessels. Today, it is a popular destination for divers and historians interested in exploring the underwater remains of these maritime disasters.

There is a problem in the waters of Wonderopolis today, my friend! Our reliable ship, the S.S. Wonder, is taking on water in some rough seas. We hope we don’t overturn!

If we can just reach the shore, we will find a place to wait out the storm. We enjoy an adventurous journey, but not at the risk of our lives!

Regrettably, many ships in the past were unable to find a safe harbor during a storm. Many succumbed to extreme weather conditions. Others fell prey to pirate attacks. Weapons of war have also caused numerous ships to sink.

The ocean floor is filled with the remains of thousands of ships. In fact, certain areas have become famous for the large number of shipwrecks. One such area is known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

This region begins in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and extends north to the southern entrance of Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Virginia. There, two forces clash to create stormy and treacherous seas. One is the Labrador Current, which is a cold stream of water from Greenland’s coast. The other is the Gulf Stream, which consists of warm waters from the Caribbean.

When these two forces mix, it usually results in rough seas and dense fog. Some areas in the Graveyard of the Atlantic are notorious for their particularly dangerous waters. These include Cape Hatteras, Cape Fear, and Diamond Shoals.

In addition to severe weather conditions, these areas also have strong currents. These currents can cause sandbars to shift, making it difficult to navigate ships. Some believe that Blackbeard the Pirate used these factors to his advantage in order to avoid capture.

There is no doubt that this part of the Atlantic Ocean is extremely hazardous. The ocean floor in this area is home to the remains of thousands of ships. Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, was discovered here in 1996. Parts of the ship are now on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

The first recorded shipwreck in this area occurred in 1526. Explorers were drawn to the mouth of the Cape Fear River because it was wild and unexplored. However, it quickly became known as a dangerous spot for sailors. Ship after ship sank due to the deadly conditions often present in the area. Legend has it that the wild Spanish mustangs of the Outer Banks arrived there by swimming from sinking ships.

After numerous shipwrecks, the government intervened. It constructed lifesaving stations every seven miles along the Outer Banks coast. These stations and their personnel eventually became the United States Coast Guard.

Have you heard about any recent shipwrecks? They still happen. In October 2012, the HMS Bounty sank off Cape Hatteras during Hurricane Sandy. Will the Graveyard of the Atlantic continue to claim ships? Only time will tell!

Give It a Try

Ask an adult friend or family member to assist you in continuing your learning with one or more of the activities below:

The Graveyard of the Atlantic may sound eerie, doesn’t it? Just imagine being a ship’s captain sailing the treacherous seas off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. How would you feel about navigating through the Graveyard of the Atlantic? What kind of adventures might await you there? Write a brief story about what it would be like to sail through this perilous area. Use your imagination and share your story with a friend or family member.

The Gulf Stream doesn’t only impact the Graveyard of the Atlantic. It is also one of the reasons why Iceland is lush and green. Read more about it and then summarize what you have learned about Iceland and Greenland for a friend or family member.

Are you ready to explore more about geography? Print out a blank map of North Carolina and use the internet to find the locations of the five main lighthouses along the coast: Currituck Beach Lighthouse, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

Wonder Sources:

– http://www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com/ (accessed on 08 Jun 2020)

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graveyard_of_the_Atlantic (accessed on 08 Jun 2020)

– http://www.outerbanksbeachguide.com/tourism/gravyard.htm (accessed on 08 Jun 2020)

– http://www.ncbeaches.com/Features/History/GraveyardOfTheAtlantic/ (accessed on 08 Jun 2020)


1. Where is the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

The Graveyard of the Atlantic is located off the coast of North Carolina, USA. It stretches along the Outer Banks, a series of barrier islands that run parallel to the mainland. The treacherous waters of this region have claimed thousands of ships over the centuries, earning it the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

2. Why is it called the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

The Graveyard of the Atlantic earned its name due to the large number of shipwrecks that have occurred in its waters. The combination of shifting sandbars, strong currents, and frequent storms make navigation in this area extremely dangerous. Over 2,000 shipwrecks have been documented here, ranging from wooden sailing ships to modern cargo vessels.

3. What can be found in the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

The Graveyard of the Atlantic is a treasure trove for divers and history enthusiasts. The shipwrecks in this area provide a glimpse into maritime history and have become artificial reefs, attracting a diverse range of marine life. Divers can explore sunken vessels, discover hidden artifacts, and witness the fascinating underwater ecosystem that has developed around these wrecks.

4. Can visitors access the Graveyard of the Atlantic?

While visitors cannot access the Graveyard of the Atlantic by foot, they can explore the shipwrecks through diving expeditions and boat tours. The waters here are popular among recreational divers and there are several companies that offer guided tours to the wrecks. These tours provide a unique opportunity to witness the history and beauty of the Graveyard of the Atlantic firsthand.

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