The oceans are the habitat of about two lakh known species, however the ocean's depths still remain unexplored and many more species may exist. Normally Oceans are described separately, but it is actually one global unified body of salt water sometimes referred as the World Ocean or global ocean. As the major component of Earth's hydrosphere, the oceans are connected to all living beings, form a part of the carbon cycle and influence the climate and weather patterns.
The shape of the World Ocean can be treated as constant, but the fact is that the continental drift continuously changes its structure. The oceanic division is based on various factors like the continents, islands, etc. The five major divisions are:
1.The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean and fills the gap between Asia, Australia, North and South America and the Oceania. It meets the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Horn in South America.
2.The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean and extends between North and South America, Africa and Europe. It meets the Indian Ocean at Cape Agulhas, south of Africa.
3.The Indian Ocean extends north from the Southern Ocean to India and spreads out between Australia and Africa. It joins the Pacific Ocean near Australia.
4.The Southern Ocean or sometimes called as the Antarctica ocean is spread out in the southern Antarctic polar region. It is partly covered in sea ice and the amount varies according to seasons. It is the second smallest ocean of the five.
5.The Arctic Ocean is the smallest ocean and spreads out near Iceland and Greenland joining the Pacific Ocean at the Bering Strait. It touches the North Pole region, North America and Asia. It is partly covered in sea ice and the amount varies according to seasons.
- The oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet.
- Less than 10% of the oceans have been explored by humans.
- The average ocean depth is about 12,460 ft (3,798 m).
- The deepest point is at 36,198 ft (11,033 m) located in the Mariana Trench in Pacific Ocean.
- The Pacific Ocean is the world's largest water body and contains about 25,000 islands.
- There are at least 212,906 named marine species currently.
- Around 90% of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans.
- Undersea earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides cause tsunamis or seismic sea waves.
- The largest ocean current is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, which flows continuously around the earth.
- The average temperature of ocean water is about 3.5°C.
- Oil is a valuable ocean resource. Almost one-third of the world's oil comes from oceans.
- Fish supplies the maximum percentage of the world's protein consumed by humans.
- About 90% of trade between countries is carried by ships.
- The use of underwater cables helps in half of the communication between nations.
- The ocean determines climate and plays a critical role in Earth's habitability.
- The ocean plays a vital role in influencing climate and weather patterns on Earth.
Last Updated on : 30/05/2013