What's the Biggest Ocean?
The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on Earth, covering approximately 155 million square kilometers (59 million square miles), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Located between the Southern Ocean, Asia, Australia and the Americas, the Pacific Ocean occupies about one-third of the Earth's surface. Containing almost twice as much as the world's second largest body of water, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean holds more than half of the Earth's open water supply.
In fact, the Pacific Ocean's basin, or the land below sea level, is so large that it could hold all of the world’s continents. Besides being the biggest, the Pacific is also the oldest of the existing ocean basins. Its oldest rocks have been dated at about 200 million years, according to NOAA.
The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are followed in size by the Indian Ocean, then by the Southern Ocean and lastly by the Arctic Ocean. Named in 1520 by explorer Ferdinand Magellan, Pacific means "peaceful" in Portuguese.
While the ocean's waters may appear calm, it's a whole other story below its serene surface.
Areas of tectonic plate subduction, where one tectonic plate is forced under another, cause powerful earthquakes and volcanic activity in a region referred to as the “Ring of Fire” around the Pacific basin. The Pacific Plate moves to the northwest at a rate of approximately 3½ inches (9 centimeters) per year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The world's greatest earthquake zone, the massive circum-Pacific “Ring of Fire” seismic belt is home to more than half of the world's active volcanoes that are above sea level, and is where about 81 percent of the world's largest earthquakes occur, according to the USGS.
Life's Little Mysteries: Gift Edition Hardcover Book
Uncover the truth behind more than 100 mysteries that surround us every day with our new hardcover book! Perfect for gifts and classrooms, and suitable for all ages. Some of the included mysteries are:
- Why Do Cats Land on Their Feet?
- How Long Does it Take to Make Petrified Wood?
- What Everyday Things Around Us Are Radioactive?
Find out all of this and much, much more in our NEW hardcover book.
It makes a great gift idea for all ages. more info>>