Interesting Ocean Facts

Some important facts about our oceans.

Area: about 140 million square miles (362 million sq km), or nearly 71% of the Earth's surface.

Average Depth: 12,200 feet (3,720 m).

Deepest point: 36,198 feet (11,033 m) in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific.

Mountains: The ocean ridges form a great mountain range, almost 40,000 miles (64,000 km) long, that weaves its way through all the major oceans. It is the largest single feature on Earth.

Highest Mountain: Mauna Kea, Hawaii, rises 33,474 feet (10,203 m) from its base on the ocean floor; only 13,680 feet (4,170 m) are above sea level. 48 more facts about our oceans...

The oceans occupy nearly 71% of our planet's surface

More than 97% of all our planet's water is contained in the ocean

The top ten feet of the ocean hold as much heat as our entire atmosphere

The average depth of the ocean is more than 2.5 miles

The oceans provide 99 percent of the Earth's living space- the largest space in our universe known to be inhabited by living organisms

More than 90% of this habitat exists in the deep sea known as the abyss

Less than 10% of this living space has been explored by humans

Mount Everest (the highest point on the Earth's surface 5.49 miles) is more than 1 mile shorter than the Challenger Deep (the deepest point in the ocean at 6.86 miles)

The longest continuous mountain chain known to exist in the Universe resides in the ocean at more than 40,000 miles long

The Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon is deeper and larger in volume than the Grand Canyon

The Antarctic ice sheet that forms and melts over the ocean each year is nearly twice the size of the United States

The average temperature of the oceans is 2ºC, about 39ºF

Water pressure at the deepest point in the ocean is more than 8 tons per square inch, the equivalent of one person trying to hold 50 jumbo jets.

The Gulf Stream off the Atlantic seaboard of the United States flows at a rate nearly 300 times faster than the typical flow of the Amazon river, the world's largest river

The worlds oceans contain nearly 20 million tons of gold

The color blue is least absorbed by seawater; the same shade of blue is most absorbed by microscopic plants, called phytoplankton, drifting in seawater

A new form of life, based on chemical energy rather than light energy, resides in deep-sea hydrothermal vents along mid-ocean ridges

A swallow of seawater may contain millions of bacterial cells, hundreds of thousands of phytoplankton and tens of thousands of zooplankton

The blue whale, the largest animal on our planet ever (exceeding the size of the greatest dinosaurs) still lives in the ocean; it's heart is the size of a Volkswagen

The gray whale migrates more than 10,000 miles each year, the longest migration of any mammal

The Great Barrier Reef, measuring 1,243 miles, is the largest living structure on Earth. It can be seen from the Moon.

More than 90 percent of the trade between countries is carried by ships and about half the communications between nations use underwater cables

More oil reaches the oceans each year as a result of leaking automobiles and other non-point sources than was spilled in Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez