Dive Into These Fascinating Facts About The Ocean
The ocean nourishes us, regulates our climate, and produces at least half of the oxygen on the planet
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
June 8, 2023
June 8 is designated World Oceans Day by the United Nations. Here are some things to buoy your knowledge about the ocean and how to celebrate the benefits we derive from it.
Earth To Ocean
The ocean covers around 70 percent of Earth’s surface, holds about 97 percent of all the water on our planet, and oceanic plankton is responsible for producing at least 50 percent of the oxygen on Earth.
There is enough salt in the ocean to cover the whole surface of the Earth. Its saltiness predominantly comes from rocks on land dissolved in seawater and openings in the seafloor. If the salt in the ocean could be removed and spread evenly over the Earth’s land surface, it would form a layer more than 500 feet thick, about the height of a 40-story office building.
A sea is a small area of an ocean typically located where the land and ocean meet, like the Mediterranean Sea, situated between Africa and Europe. At different points in history, the “Seven Seas” has referred to bodies of water along trade routes, regional bodies of water, or far-away bodies of water. Today, the modern Seven Seas are considered the Arctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans. However, our ocean is more commonly divided into five key areas, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern (Antarctic).
Sizing It Up
From the largest to smallest oceans, they are the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Southern, and the Arctic. The Pacific Ocean covers about 30 percent of the Earth’s surface. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan named the ocean the Pacific (meaning peaceful) because when his small fleet entered the Pacific in 1520, it was calm. The Atlantic Ocean is nearly half the size of the Pacific Ocean and is generally agreed to be the first ocean crossed by plane and ship. The Indian Ocean is the world’s only ocean with asymmetric and semi-annually reversing surface circulations. The Southern Ocean surrounds Antarctica and is home to emperor penguins, wandering albatrosses, and blue whales, the largest ocean animal, also considered the largest animal to ever live on Earth. In the Antarctic, the blue whale can reach about 110 feet and weigh more than 330,000 pounds. Located in the North Pole, the Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest ocean on Earth. It's predominantly covered with sea ice throughout the year, and almost entirely in winter.
The deepest known area of the Earth's oceans, and the deepest location of the planet itself, is known as the Mariana Trench. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the distance between the surface of the ocean and the deepest point of the trench, the Challenger Deep, is about 7 miles.
The number of species that live in the ocean is unknown. Scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species have yet to be classified and that more than 81 percent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored.
Revel With A Cause
Not only do oceans provide us with fun activities (from boating and kayaking to surfing and whale watching), but medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. And ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk. Celebrate the ocean by contributing to its health. For example, use less water so excess runoff and wastewater will not flow into the ocean, buy less plastic, use reusable bags, choose energy-efficient light bulbs, and avoid oversetting your thermostat.