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.