The Worlds Oceans

Jun 07, 2021
The Worlds Oceans

Each year on June 8th we celebrate World Oceans Day, and this year we wanted to look at the all the worlds oceans and learn a little more about them.

What is an ocean?

National Geographic defines the ocean as the enormous body of salt water that covers 71% of planet Earth. Our planet has 1 global ocean but oceanographers have divided the ocean into distinct geographical regions, which are the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans with some oceanographers in recent years suggesting that there is a fifth, the Southern ocean, which refers to the seas around Antarctica. 

There is a  difference between seas and oceans, although often in general conversation the terms are interchangeable when it comes to geography the is a definable difference. According to NOAA a sea is usually smaller than an ocean and is partially enclosed by land.


The Atlantic Ocean Region

Approximate Area: 75 Million Square Kilometres (29 Million Square Miles)

Average Depth: 3,926 m (12,881 ft)

Deepest Point: 8,605 m (28,231 ft) - Milwaukee Deep in the Puerto Rico Trench

How it got its name: The name for this ocean was inspired by the Greek myth of Atlas holding up the heavens who's name comes from the Atlas Mountains of north-west Africa.

Pacific Ocean Region

Approximate Area: 155 Million Square Kilometres (59 Million Square Miles)

Average Depth: 4,000 m (13,000 ft).

Deepest Point: 11,000 m (36,000 ft) - the Mariana Trench

How it got its name: Explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 named the Pacific ocean as a result of the calm water he saw before him, pacific' means peaceful. 

Ocean Image 2

Indian Ocean Region

Approximate Area: 68 Million Square Kilometres (26 Million Square Miles)

Average Depth: 4,210 m (13,800 ft)

Deepest Point: 7,258 m (23,812 ft) - the Java Trench

How it got its name: This is the only ocean to get its name from a country, as India protrudes into the Indian Ocean it seemed like a suitable name to early maritime explorers.

Arctic Ocean Region

Approximate Area: 14 Million Square Kilometres (5.4 Million Square Miles)

Average Depth: 1,500 m (4,900 ft)

Deepest Point: 5,450 m (17,880 ft) 

How it got its name: The Arctic Ocean gets its name from the regional area it is found, the word Arctic actually comes from the Greek word Arktos which means bear, this is referring to the star constellations, the Great and the Little Bear which are only visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

Southern Ocean Region

Approximate Area: 20 Million Square Kilometres (7 Million Square Miles)

Average Depth: 3,200 m (10,700 ft)

Deepest Point: 7,000 m (23,000 ft) - the South Sandwich Trench 

How it got its name: This is the most southerly ocean on planet Earth and is sometimes referred to as the Antarctic Ocean or South Polar Ocean. 

Ocean Image 3

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1] National Geographic - Resource Library | Encyclopaedic Entry: Ocean, National Geographic Society (21st October 2019)

2] NOAA - What's the difference between an ocean and a sea? (26th February 2021)

3] Water Encyclopedia - Ocean BasinsBrian D. Hoyle and K. Lee Lerner

4] Ocean Explorer NOAA - How big is the Pacific Ocean?

5] Kids World Travel Guide - Southern Ocean Facts For Kids

6] Nettarkiv - Did you know that the term Antarctic actually comes from “anti-Arctic”?

7] Maps of the World - How the Oceans got their names? (26th May 2017)

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