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Deposits on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have a thickness of about 1 km (0.62 mi).
Upper sedimentary layers relate to the period from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic (250 million years ago to present) and the lower layers from the Paleozoic to the Mesozoic.
The Caribbean Sea is separated from the ocean by several island arcs of various ages.
The youngest stretches from the Lesser Antilles to the Virgin Islands to the north east of Trinidad and Tobago off the coast of Venezuela.
The deepest points of the sea lie in Cayman Trough with depths reaching approximately 7,686 m (25,220 ft).From the 16th century, Europeans visiting the Caribbean region identified the "South Sea" (the Pacific Ocean, to the south of the isthmus of Panama) as opposed to the "North Sea" (the Caribbean Sea, to the north of the same isthmus).The Caribbean Sea had been unknown to the populations of Eurasia until 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed into Caribbean waters on a quest to find a sea route to Asia.The Caribbean sea floor is divided into five basins separated from each other by underwater ridges and mountain ranges.Atlantic Ocean water enters the Caribbean through the Anegada Passage lying between the Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands and the Windward Passage located between Cuba and Haiti.