Indian Ocean Facts

Here are some facts about the Indian Ocean.

  • The Indian Ocean is the world’s 3rd largest, after the Pacific and Atlantic. It covers about 20 percent of the earth’s surface and is bordered by Africa, Asia, Australia and Antarctica.
  • It covers an area of just over 73 million square km and has an average depth of 3,890 metres. The ocean’s deepest point is the Diamantina Trench, which reaches a depth of 8,000 metres.

  • In 3,000 BC the Egyptians were exploring the western area of the ocean, and a Greek navigator was one of the first people to explore it, around the 2nd century BC.
  • The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama was the first European to cross the ocean to the Far East.
  • The Indian Ocean grows about 20 cm wider each year. It also changes its course and direction of flow twice a year, once during the summer and again during the winter.
  • The Indian Ocean is the world’s warmest ocean. The warmest part of the Ocean is the Persian Gulf.
  • About 40 percent of the world’s oil production comes from the Indian Ocean and the countries surrounding it. Many of the beaches on the ocean are rich in variety of minerals.
  • Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island is in the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa.
  • Indonesia, in the eastern Indian Ocean is made up of over 17,000 islands and is the world’s fourth most populous country.
  • A large continent, volcanic in nature, has been discovered submerged in the southern part of the Indian Ocean.
  • Many classic literary works, including One Thousand and One Nights mention the Indian Ocean. The adventures of Sinbad the sailor supposedly took place on and around the ocean.

Arctic Ocean Facts

Here are some facts about the Arctic Ocean.

  • The Arctic Ocean is the world’s smallest ocean, as well as the shallowest. It is also the least salty of all the oceans, because of the large amount of melting and freezing ice it contains.

  • It covers an area of almost 14 million square km, an area about the size of Russia. The ocean is surrounded by the US, Russia, Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia.
  • The average depth is about 1130 metres, and there are several continental shelves which hold gas and oil deposits. The ocean’s deepest point is the Eurasian Basin at 5960 metres.
  • The Arctic Ocean has 3 different types of ice – pack ice, Polar ice and fast ice. The floating ice supports seals, Arctic foxes and Polar bears.
  • Almost all the ocean is covered by ice during April, while at other times it melts to about 9 million square km. The amount of ice is thought to be decreasing by about 3 percent every 10 years.
  • Ships often get trapped in the ice or are crushed by the ice, and huge icebergs can break off and drift south. The iceberg that sank the Titanic originated here.
  • The first sea crossing of the Arctic Ocean was made in 1896 by a Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen. The first surface crossing was made by the British explorer Wally Herbert in 1969.
  • The water temperature ranges from -30C to -70C, depending on the time of year. Despite the cold, more fish live on the edge of the ocean than anywhere else.
  • There is almost no plant life in the Arctic Ocean, although lots of whales, walruses and jellyfish live there. Lion’s mane jellyfish which have tentacles up to 37 metres long, thrive in the Arctic Ocean.

Atlantic Ocean Facts

Here are some facts about the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The Atlantic is the second largest ocean in the world, after the Pacific, covering about 106 million square kilometres. It makes up 30 percent of the earth’s water surface.
  • The equator splits the ocean into two sections, known as the North and South Atlantic Oceans. It is bordered by the continents of Europe, Africa and North and South America.

  • Greenland is by far the largest island in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The world’s second longest barrier reef is situated in the Atlantic off the coast of Mexico.
  • The ocean’s name comes from the legendary island of Atlantis, as described by the ancient Greek writer, Plato. The Ancient Greeks believed the Atlantic was a huge river, rather than an ocean.
  • The ocean’s average depth is about 3,340 metres. The deepest point is 8,380 metres in the Puerto Rico Trench, an ocean trench located east of the Caribbean islands.
  • During spring, the highest tides in the world occur off the coast of Canada, reaching a height of 17 metres. Huge waves and strong winds in the South Atlantic are known as the roaring forties.
  • The Viking, Leif Ericson may have been the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean, in 1000 AD.
  • In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed crossed the ocean and landed in the Caribbean.
  • In 1919, Alcock and Brown made the first non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean., and in 1927, Charles Lindbergh made the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic.
  • The Cunard Line first carried passengers across the Atlantic in the 1850s. In the late 19th century millions of Europeans sailed across the Atlantic, emigrating to the United States and Canada.
  • The world’s richest fishing grounds are in the Atlantic Ocean and it is home to thousands of species.
  • In 1938 a coelacanth was caught in the Atlantic Ocean, which was remarkable because it was a species believed to have been extinct for 60 million years.

Pacific Ocean Facts

Here are some facts about the Pacific Ocean.

  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world, covering about 166 million square km. It accounts for about 33 percent of the Earth’s surface.
  • It is bordered by North and South America, parts of Asia, and Australia. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Antarctic in the south and is split in two by the equator.

  • The deepest point in the Pacific Ocean is the Mariana Trench, located in the west of the ocean. At 10,911 metres it is deeper than Mount Everest is high.
  • There are over 20,000 islands scattered throughout the ocean, many of them tiny coral reefs. Most are located in the 3 island groups of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.
  • Almost all of the land bordering the Pacific, known as the Pacific Rim, has lots of volcanoes and earthquakes. Many of the ocean’s coral islands are on top of extinct volcanoes.
  • The island of New Guinea is the second largest island in the world.
  • Easter Island is 2,600 km from its closest neighbour in Polynesia and has the world’s most remote airport.
  • The Pacific Ocean was first seen by European explorers in the 16th century. It was given its name, meaning peaceful sea, by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
  • The Western Pacific is actually in the eastern hemisphere, while the Eastern Pacific lies in the western hemisphere.
  • Water temperatures in the ocean range from freezing to about 86F.
  • The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia is the longest coral reef in the world. It stretches for about 2,300 km and consists of almost 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands.
  • Thousands of tons of rubbish are dumped in the Pacific Ocean each year. Even space satellites end up there; in 2011 a satellite used to research the upper atmosphere was dumped in the ocean.