55 Interesting Facts About Oceans

  1. The five oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic) cover almost 71% of the total earth’s surface.
  2. But this division of 5 oceans is not universally accepted. The concepts of 1, 3, or 4 oceans are also there according to different oceanic divisions. 
  3. Oceans produce 50 to 80% of the oxygen on earth. Oceanic plankton - composed of algae, bacteria, and floating plants - are the main producers of this oxygen. A tiny bacteria species produces more oxygen than the combined production of all the tropical rainforests on land. (Source)
  4. Despite scientific advancement, more than 80% of the ocean is still unexplored. Less than 10% of the global ocean has been mapped so far with modern sonar technology. (Source)
  5. The number of species in oceans is unknown due to their massive size. More than 80% of the ocean is unexplored and 91% of its species are unclassified. (Source)
  6. There are 230,000 known species in oceans while it is estimated that the total number of species inside the oceans could be more than two million. (Source)
  7. A few areas in the ocean are known as “dead zones” due to less oxygen. Most of the marine life either dies or swims away from these areas. They are natural as well as man-made as a result of nutrient pollution. These zones are mostly present in coastal areas around the globe. (Source)
  8. Ocean heatwaves are extremely harmful to ocean creatures. It happens when the temperature inside the sea or ocean gets extraordinarily hot for 5 consecutive days. According to recent research, the number of “marine heatwave days” has increased by 54% since the 1920s. These heat waves are now lasting 17% longer while their frequency has also increased than before. This is especially affecting coral reefs. (Source)
  9. The Pacific Ocean is the largest of all these oceans as it comprises around 46% area and 50% volume of all the oceans.
  10. The average depth of the Pacific Ocean is 3,970 meters. It is also the lowest of all the oceans.
  11. Point Nemo in the Pacific Ocean is the farthest place from land. The nearest land area from this point is 2,688 km away. (Source)
  12. The Pacific Ocean separates Asia and Australia (continent) from the Americas (North and South America).
  13. Astronomers believe the ocean was formed 3.9 billion years ago through the bombardment of icy comets and asteroids. However, recent research shows the oceans came into being through the extraction of water from the earth’s rocks. (Source)
  14. Life in the ocean started 3.5 billion years ago. The complex multi-celled organisms developed around 1.2 billion years ago. (Source)
  15. There are lakes and rivers in a few places beneath the ocean’s surface. The length of these undersea water bodies is from a few feet to several miles. Some animals like underwater beach bums and mussels live in these lakes and rivers. (Source)
  16. Most of the sunlight in the ocean reaches up to 200 meters. This area is known as the “sunlight zone”. A small amount of sunlight penetrates between 200 meters and 1,000 meters, known as the “twilight zone”. There is complete darkness beyond that zone. (Source)
  17. The El Nino (warm) and La Nina (cold) patterns of the Pacific Ocean affect the temperature in different parts of the earth. (Source) 
  18. Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean is the deepest part of all the oceans in the world. Its maximum-known depth is around 11,000 meters and this point is known as Challenger Deep. Research shows that microbes (especially bacteria) are present in this deepest place on the earth’s surface. (Source
    Map of Mariana Trench and its nearby area
    Pollution is present even in oceans' deepest point Mariana Trench
  19. Human rubbish is present in every part of the ocean including the deepest-known point. Man-made plastics (synthetic fibers and textiles) have been found in the stomachs and muscles of animals living in Mariana Trench. (Source
  20. The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest ocean and it separates the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa from the Americas.
  21. The first undersea telegraph cable was laid in the Atlantic Ocean to link North America and Europe in 1858. The initial undersea telephone and internet cables started working in 1956 and 1988 respectively. Currently, nearly 380 undersea cables are operating around the globe and play a major role in running the internet around the world. (Source)
  22. Bobbit worm (or sand striker) is present in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The marine animal buries its body on the ocean floor and attacks its prey with its powerful jaws when it reaches above the floor. Its powerful teeth can easily cut its prey into two even if it is bigger than the worm. (Source)
  23. There are around 20 million tons of gold in the oceans. But it is either extremely diluted or inside a rock and difficult to be extracted. (Source)
  24. The continents of Africa and Australia are separated by the Indian Ocean
  25. The Red Sea is the inlet of the Indian Ocean and it establishes a barrier between Asia and Africa. 
  26. The Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean. Its temperature is between 22 and 28 C. (Source)
  27. Ocean rip current works closer to shore and moves away from the shoreline. Sometimes, it can reach a speed of 8 ft. per second, which makes it dangerous for swimmers.
  28. Every year, more than 14 million tons of plastic reach the oceans. The ocean current can transport plastic around the globe. Retrieving plastic from the ocean is more difficult than from rivers and seas.
  29. Southern or Antarctic Ocean is around Antarctica which is distinguished  from other oceans due to its unique climate and marine life. 
  30. The Arctic Ocean is the smallest of all the oceans. It only covers 4.3% area of all the oceans on earth. It is also the least deep ocean with an average depth of 1,205 miles. 
  31. Most of the rainfall on earth (86%) is due to evaporation from oceanic water.
  32. Blue Whale is the largest animal in the ocean which is around 20 times more massive and 4 times larger than the biggest animal on land (the African Bush Elephant).
  33. The world’s highest underwater mountain is Monte Pico in the Azores Islands (Portugal). It has an altitude of 20,000 ft. below the sea surface and 7,711 ft. above the sea. (Source)
  34. The mid-ocean ridge is the longest mountain range on earth. It covers an area of 40,389 miles and 90% of this chain is under the ocean around the globe. It also forms the earth’s largest volcanic feature. (Source)  
  35. There are hundreds or thousands of volcanoes beneath oceans. Around 67% of volcanic activity on earth happens in these volcanoes. However, most of them remain unnoticed due to their presence in the deep sea. (Source)
  36. Internal waves are waves within the ocean. They are caused by gravity due to tidal force, wind, or a ship. Internal waves are a lot slower than surface waves. (Source
    Internal waves around Trinidad
    Internal waves are slower than surface waves

  37. Hydrothermal vents in oceans are hot springs produced by underwater volcanoes. They were first discovered in 1977. Several organisms exclusively live around these vents. Their temperature can reach more than 700 F (340 C). However, the water in these boils doesn’t boil due to high pressure. (Source)
  38. There are several underwater museums in the world. The largest is the Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA) in Mexico. (Source)
  39. 83 countries in the world occupy more oceans than land. 54 of these countries have more than 80% of their territory in the ocean. (Source)
  40. In 1992, 28,000 plastic ducks were lost in the sea due to an accident in their shipping container. These bath toys floated for the next two decades in various parts of the ocean. Their journey provided information about ocean currents and plastic pollution. (Source)
  41. The pressure of water increases when a body moves deep in the ocean. The pressure increases by one atmosphere for every 33 feet inside the ocean. Animals living in great depths of the ocean can withstand this pressure due to their body structures. (Source)
  42. Freshwater freezes at 32 F (0 C). Comparatively, the ocean water freezes at 28.4 F (-1.9 C) due to salt. This ice contains very little salt and can be used for drinking. More than 15% of the ocean is covered by ice. (Source)
  43. Earthquakes in oceans cause very long waves known as tsunamis. Their speed in the deep ocean can reach up to 500 mph, with a wavelength of hundreds of miles.
  44. In January 1966, an American B-52 bomber collided with a jet tanker over a Mediterranean coast. The bomber dropped three hydrogen bombs on land and one on the sea. The fourth bomb was recovered from the sea after nearly three months. (Source)
  45. The surface of the ocean is different around the globe. The change in ocean level is due to variation in temperature, gravity, winds, currents, discharge from rivers, and other factors.
  46. The ocean remains in constant motion due to differences in temperature and salinity. This constant moving system is known as the global ocean conveyor belt. This movement starts from the Norwegian Sea and completes in Antarctica. (Source)
  47. According to estimates, the melting of ice from glaciers and ice caps can raise the sea level by 70 meters (230 feet). It will result in the drowning of every coastal city in the world. (Source)  
  48. Oceans are absorbing more heat from the sun due to the greenhouse effect. The increase in sea surface temperatures develops stronger storms in the tropics and raises sea levels. 
  49. Oceans contain 97% of water and 99% of habitable space on earth. More than 33% of the human population lives within 100 km of the oceanic coast. The ocean also absorbs 50% of CO2 released by fossil fuels. (Source)  
  50. Icebergs are present in the Arctic, Southern, and North Atlantic oceans. Ice has 90% of water’s density. It is the reason that 90% of the iceberg is under the sea.
  51. Sound travels nearly 4 times faster underwater (1500 meters/second) than in air (340 meters/second). Additionally, sound moves faster in warm water than in cold water.
  52. The average depth of oceans around the globe is around 3,688 m (12,100 ft.).
  53. Human lungs begin to contract at a depth of 100 feet underwater. Professional divers do not go beyond 400 feet under the ocean.  
  54. Oceans and seas contain nearly 97% of all water on earth. The volume of water in oceans is more than 1.3 billion cubic miles.
  55. The records for deepest dives are 1,082 ft. (332 m) in scuba dive, 6.8 miles (Mariana trench) in vessel dive, and 253 meters in free dive.

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