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Oceans are massive water bodies that cover 70% of the earth. The oceans cover about 97% of Earth's water supply. The oceans provide much of the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe, and they are home to 97 percent of all living matter. The combined area of all the World Oceans is 361 million km², its volume is 1370 million km³, and its average depth is 3790 m. The deepest point in the ocean is the Mariana Trench located in the Pacific Ocean near the Northern Mariana Islands. It has a maximum depth of 10,923 m.

There are five oceans -

  1. Pacific Ocean
  2. Atlantic Ocean
  3. Indian Ocean
  4. Arctic Ocean
  5. Southern Ocean
The oceans are all connected to each other. The fifth ocean, the Southern Ocean has been defined only in the Spring of 2000 by International Hydrographic Organization. It surrounds Antarctica. Before 2000, the water bodies were divided into only four oceans.
This table below lists the five oceans and their areas.

Click on the title to sort in any column.

NameArea (sq miles)Average Depth (ft)
Pacific Ocean64186000 15215
Atlantic Ocean33420000 12881
Indian Ocean28350000 13002
Southern Ocean7848300 14750
Arctic Ocean5106000 3953

Some characteristics of Pacific Ocean are -

  1. Pacific Ocean is the world's largest body of water.
  2. Pacific Ocean encompasses a third of the Earth's surface, having an area of 179.7 million km²
  3. The Pacific contains about 25,000 islands. This is more than the total number of islands in the rest of the world's oceans combined.
  4. The lowest point on earth— the Mariana Trench— lies some 10,911 m (35,797 ft) below sea level. It is in the Pacific ocean.

Some characteristics of Atlantic Ocean are -

  1. Atlantic Ocean is earth's second largest ocean.
  2. Atlantic Ocean covers about 20% of earth surface.
  3. Atlantic Ocean has the Americas on the west, Europe and Africa on the east, and the Arctic Ocean on its north.
  4. A man-made connection between the Atlantic and Pacific is through the Panama Canal.

Some characteristics of Indian Ocean are -

  1. The Indian Ocean is the third-largest body of water in the world.
  2. It covers about 20% of the Earth's water surface.
  3. To the north of Indian ocean is the Indian Sub-continent to its west is the Arabian Peninsula and Africa; to its east is the Malay Peninsula, the Sunda Islands, and Australia, and to its south is the Southern Ocean.
  4. The Indian Ocean is the only continent named after a country.

Some characteristics of Arctic Ocean are -

  1. The Arctic Ocean is located mostly in the north polar region. It is the smallest of the world's five oceans.
  2. It is also the shallowest ocean.
  3. The Arctic Ocean occupies a roughly circular basin and covers an area of about 14,090,000 km², slightly less than 1.5 times the size of the US.

Some characteristics of Southern Ocean are -

  1. The Southern Ocean is the body of water encircling the continent of Antarctica.
  2. It is the world's fourth largest ocean.
  3. It was defined in the Spring of 2000 by a decision of the International Hydrographic Organization.

Ocean Links
UN Atlas of oceans provide information about ocean issues and provides approaches to ocean sustainability. It provides extensive information about Tsunami.

The ocean Conservancy is a organization working to conserve and restore wild, healthy oceans.

US Environmental Protection Agency is an organization that protects coastal environments through a watershed approach and its regulatory and cooperative management programs.

National Oceans Office of Australian Government is responsible for ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s ocean waters.

Wikipedia's ocean page has a brief introduction to ocean's exploration, economy and climate.

Books on Oceans
Oceans by Sue Hostetler, Robert Redford, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Vicki Goldberg has an amazing collection of photographs of oceans by many artists.

Origins: The Evolution of Continents, Oceans and Life by Ron Redfern describes Earth's past and provides a clear and original perspective on Earth as a dynamic planet.