CONCEPTS

What is the ocean?

We explain what the ocean is and what are the differences between sea and ocean. Also, what is the largest ocean in the world.

  1. What is the ocean?

When we talk about oceans we mean a huge expanse of salt water that separates two or more continents . These are colossal bodies of water , whose estimated area is 361,000,000 km2, that is, three quarters of the planet, and have an average depth of 3900 meters (with exceptions such as the Mariana Trench, 11,034 meters deep ), which means about 1,300,000,000 km3 of liquid, that is, 94% of the planetary water.

Since they cover most of the surface of our planet (71%) and communicate with each other, the oceans are a distinctive feature of the Earth, the “blue planet.” Life originated in the oceans and there is still the highest percentage of known biodiversity , which constitutes a source of food  and resources for man, as well as recreational activities.

On the other hand, this huge body of water plays an essential role in the planet’s climatic cycles, maintaining its stable temperature throughout the water cycle and marine currents . At the same time , numerous climatic accidents and dangerous natural phenomena are created on its surface , such as hurricanes, tropical storms or tsunamis .

In the world there are three great oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian , followed by two smaller ones: Arctic and Antarctic. The first two of the list can be divided into North and South, according to their location.

The Atlantic Ocean separates the continents of Europe and Africa from America, while the Pacific separates the latter from Asia and Oceania.

The Indian, on the other hand, separates the African continent from Asia and Oceania, below the level of India. The Arctic and Antarctic oceans, finally, are in the immediate vicinity of their respective North and South poles, respectively.

  1. Differences between sea and ocean

It speaks of sea or ocean, distinctly, depending on the size of the extent of salt water to which we refer. Thus, the seas are smaller than the oceans , and are part of them.

The oceans have greater depths and a much greater volume of water, while the seas are more superficial and therefore warmer. It could be said that the seas are the portions of the ocean appreciable from the mainland , although there are also saltwater lakes known as “seas”, such as the Caspian Sea, the Dead Sea or the Aral Sea.

  1. The largest ocean in the world

The largest ocean in the world is the Pacific, which separates America from Asia and Oceania. It constitutes a third of the earth’s surface and extends for 15,000 kilometers high  (from the Bering Sea and the Arctic, to the Ross Sea and Antarctica), and about 19,800 km wide between the coasts of Indonesia and Colombia. Its total area is 155,557,000 km2 and contains about 25,000 islands, more than the rest of the oceans added.

The Pacific communicates with the Atlantic only in three points: the natural passages in the southern region, known as the Magellan passage and the Drake Strait, or through the artificial connection that exists in Panama, and which operates based on a exclusive flood system.

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