|"A lot of plants get caught in the Gulf Stream and are swirled
into the central north Atlantic, where they accumulate in the quiet
center of the current system that circles that part of the globe.
This is the place known as the Sargasso Sea. It is a region of
little rain and wind, a high-evaporation rate, and very clear, salty
water, which stands at a higher level than that of the surrounding
"It is estimated that some ten million tons of sargasso float in that tranquil sea. The weed accumulates there, partly because more of it drifts in on the Gulf Stream than drifts out the other side on the Equatorial Current, and partly by vegetative reproduction. Algae were pioneers in the art of sexual reproduction. The sargasso algae, however, are for some reason unable to procreate sexually. 'They simply grow and reproduce by breaking off branches of themselves. The individual plants probably never die, unless they are smashed by waves. Rachel Carson suggested that some of the Sargasso weeds out there in the Sargasso Sea today might have been seen by Columbus. In his time the place was feared by mariners as a trap for ships."