The ocean is the single largest body of water on Earth, covering two-thirds of the planet’s surface. An ocean is similar to a sea, since both are composed of saline water; however, a sea is partly or fully enclosed by land. The ocean, also referred to as the World Ocean, is divided into five parts.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the five oceans on Earth. Covering an area of about 69 million square miles, it borders the Americas in the east, Asia and Australia in the west, the Arctic to the north, and the aptly named Southern Ocean in the south. The Pacific Ocean covers about 46 percent of the earth’s water surface, as well as about 33 percent of the planet’s total surface area. Thus the Pacific Ocean is larger than the earth’s total land area. The equator divides it into two sections: the North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean. The ocean gets its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who called it Mar Pacifico—“peaceful sea” in Portuguese—in appreciation of the favorable winds that greeted him as he sailed there. The Pacific Ocean is where the deepest known point on Earth—the Challenger Deep—is located; it has a depth of almost 36,000 feet.
The second largest ocean on Earth is the Atlantic Ocean, which covers an area of about 41 million square miles. This area comprises about 29 percent of the earth’s water surface and about 20 percent of its total surface. Like its larger sibling, the Atlantic Ocean is divided by the equator into the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic oceans. The term “Atlantic” comes from the Titan Atlas from Greek mythology; thus the ocean is nicknamed the “Sea of Atlas.” Possessing an S shape, the Atlantic Ocean has the Americas, Europe, and Africa flanking it on its western and eastern sides, with the Arctic and Antarctica at its northern end and southern end, respectively. Its unique position makes the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to the other four oceans. It is home to the Gulf Stream, one of the largest currents on earth and located in the North Atlantic section of the ocean.
The third largest ocean, the Indian Ocean, gets its name from India, the subcontinent that partly bounds it. It is also bound on the west by Africa, on the south by the Southern Ocean, and on the east by Australia. The Indian Ocean covers an area of over 28 million square miles, about 20 percent of the earth’s water surface. The ocean is notable for being the location of several island nations, including Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Bahrain; Indonesia and Timor-Leste border it to the east.
The Southern Ocean is located in the southernmost part of the World Ocean. It is also called the Antarctic Ocean because it borders Antarctica, the earth’s southernmost continent. Some geographers question the existence of a Southern Ocean at all, contending that it should be considered part of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans instead.
At the opposite end of the earth is the Arctic Ocean, which is the smallest and shallowest of the five oceanic divisions. This ocean is named for its location at the northernmost end of the earth, which is referred to as the Arctic polar region. Like the Southern Ocean, there is debate within the geography community about its classification, with some experts preferring to label it as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean instead.
This article was written by Heather Gonzales, an up-and-coming writer who hopes to help you learn more through her articles. She writes this on behalf of GulfLand Structures, your number one choice when looking for spacious offshore accommodations. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!