Facts About the World’s Oceans

world-ocean

I want to share some of the fun and interesting facts that I have learned about the oceans of the world. We have 5 oceans that currently cover the surface of our planet; the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern and Arctic oceans.

The Pacific Ocean

The largest of our five oceans, the Pacific blankets over 30% of the surface of our planet. The furthest depth to be recorded in the Pacific Ocean is 35,827 feet (10,920m) and has been named Challenger Deep. This spot is situated close to Guam. The Pacific is also home to the biggest coral reef to be found in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, which can be found just off of the coast of Australia.

The word Pacific itself comes from the Latin word for peaceful, pacificus. One fact I find somewhat amusing is that the Pacific Ocean is also home to the famous Ring of Fire, where a ring of volcanoes sit…not a very peaceful ring.

The Atlantic Ocean 

Next is our Atlantic Ocean, which is the second largest on the planet but only half the size of the Pacific Ocean. It sits between the continents of Europe, Africa and America and covers around 20% of the surface of the Earth. This ocean has been expanding in size however, spreading its way along the mid-Atlantic coastline. It has been recorded to move 1 to 3 inches per year due to the tectonic plates shifting away from each other.

The Atlantic Ocean is home to many islands, such as the Bahamas, Spain’s Canary Islands, Portugal’s Azores, the Cap Verde Islands, and Greenland, the largest island to be found on the planet.

The Indian Ocean

We can find the Indian Ocean between Asia/Australia and Africa. This is the world’s third largest ocean that covers about 28,350,000 square miles (1/5) of the Earth’s surface. And it connects a record number of countries and islands. It is also the warmest of our 5 oceans but because of its temperature it can only support a limited amount of sea life.

It is the most important route of transport for moving oil because of it bridges the gap between countries rich in oil, such as Asia and the Middle East. You can see oil tankers here every day, each carrying around 17 million barrels of oil in its crude form.

The Indian Ocean is where you can find the breeding grounds for humpback whales and a fish that was long believed to be extinct, the Coelacanth.

The Southern Ocean

We find the Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean, situated around the South Pole just off of Antarctica and just across what is known as the Antarctic circle. It is our 4th largest ocean at 35 million square km, but there have been arguments through the decades regarding where this Ocean’s boundaries really lie, with some geographers feeling that there really is no Southern Ocean, so to speak, but rather that it is just extensions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

This is the home for the world’s largest species of penguin, the Emperor Penguin, and the wandering albatross. It is where we find 90% of the ice on our planet and the surrounding continent is the coldest, windiest and driest to be found in the world.

The Arctic Ocean 

Over in the North Pole, and just across from the Arctic circle is where we will find the Arctic Ocean. The ice that covers the Arctic Ocean has been slowly shrinking by around 8% per decade. Many explorers visited the areas around the Arctic Ocean and you can find a number of ground features that are names after some of them, such as Mendeleyev Ridge and the Nansen Basin.

The Arctic Ocean is also home to many polar bears and the Lion’s mane jellyfish, which is known to grow as large as 8 feet across. It survives on the fish and plankton found in the Atlantic’s depths.