11 Awesome Facts about the Pacific Ocean!
Five hundred years ago a Spanish Explorer named Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first to see the Pacific Ocean from the West of America. Here are ten awesome facts about the Pacific Ocean!
- The Pacific Ocean is located between Americas to the East of the Pacific Ocean basin and the Asian and Australian continents to the West. The Equator divides the Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.
- The word “Pacific” means peaceful. The Pacific Ocean got its name from the explorer Ferdinand Magellan. He called the ocean “mar pacific”, which meant peaceful sea.
- The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on the planet. It covers more than 30% of the earth’s surface. It is so large it is bigger than the landmass of all the world’s continents combined!
- The Pacific Ocean is also the deepest ocean. It has extremely deep trenches including The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. This trench was researched by the HMS Challenger in 1875.
- The ring of fire is located in the Pacific Ocean basin. A number of volcanoes form a ring around the basin which is where the name comes from. This area is home to many earthquakes due to volcanic activity and the movement of tectonic plates. The Pacific Ocean contains more than 75,000 volcanoes.
- Temperatures vary across the Pacific Ocean. The closer to the equator the warmer the water’s temperatures. Water near the poles reaches the freezing point!
- The Pacific Ocean is home to most of the world’s islands – including Hawaii! There are more than 25,000 islands in the Pacific.
- The Pacific Ocean is also home to many Atolls. An Atoll is a coral island surrounded by a lagoon. Atolls are only found in warm ocean waters.
- The Pacific Ocean is also home to the Great Barrier Reef. This reef is the largest in the world and stretches more than 1,429 miles. This important area is now protected as a World Heritage Site.
- The Pacific Ocean actually shrinks by one inch every year! This is caused by the movement of tectonic plates. The Atlantic Ocean is increasing by the same amount each year!
- Marine Pollution has increased by over 100 times in the Pacific Ocean over the past 40 years. Pollution is most prevalent in the northeast part of the Pacific Ocean. The main culprit for the pollution of the water is small fragments of plastic which float in the water, polluting the surrounding environment and endangering wildlife. In addition to this, the Pacific has been polluted by the debris from satellite crashes, such as Mars 96, which broke up over a 200-mile stretch of the water, and also hit Chile and Bolivia.
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