Pacific Ocean




The Pacific Ocean (devised from the Latin name ‘Mare Pacificum’ meaning ‘peaceful sea’), was bestowed upon it by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. Located between the continents of North America, South America, Asia, Antarctica and Australia the Pacific Ocean is the largest of the worlds five oceans.

It is the largest body of water on Earth – with an area of at least 165.2 million square kilometres. The Pacific Ocean (the largest component of the World Ocean) covers about 32% of the Earth’s surface and is larger than all of the Earth’s land area combined.

It is commonly divided at the Equator into the North Pacific and the South Pacific.

Pacific Ocean

Water temperatures in the Pacific vary from freezing in the pole ward areas to about 25-30 Celsius (84 °F) near the equator.

The saltiness in the water also varies latitudinal. Water near the equator is less salty than that found in the mid-latitudes. Pole ward saltiness is also low, because little evaporation of seawater takes place in these frigid areas. The Pacific ocean is generally warmer than the Atlantic ocean.

Amidst the southern section of the Pacific, small volcanic islands and coral atolls (small lagoons surrounded by reefs) are dotted around such as the islands of Fuji and Tahiti. The western peninsular consists of long rows of volcanic islands such as Japan and the Philippines. To the north lies the Aleutian Islands- another line of volcanoes- and the Bering Sea. The eastern coast is marked by the Americas.

The volcanic regions on the West, North and East rims are collectively known as the ‘Ring of Fire’. The consistent volcanic activity is known to be caused by the action of one crutsal plate descending below the edge of another plate. Many of the world’s strongest earthquakes are also present in this location. Along with earthquakes, Tsunamis are also common. These giant waves can reach the speeds of at least 500 miles per hour and cause appalling damage. After being seen only as a small wave out amidst the ocean by passing boats, they can reach the land as massive waves that cause much destruction to land and lives.

The tallest mountain in the world also rests in the Pacific Ocean: Mauna Kea of the Hawaiian Islands. From the base of the volcano on the ocean floor it is 33,476 feet in height. An amazing 4,441 feet higher than Mount Everest.

The Pacific Ocean also houses the deepest trench ever found in any of the world’s other oceans. The Mariana Trench is a huge 36,200 feet deep. The Mariana Trench was surveyed in 1951 by the Royal Navy vessel HMS Challenger. During the survey, the deepest part of the trench was recorded, and named after the vessel.

At 36,200 feet deep, the Mariana Trench would submerge Mount Everest with around 1.4 miles of water above to spare. Water temperatures in the Pacific vary from freezing in the pole ward areas to about 25-30 Celsius (84 °F) near the equator.

The saltiness in the water also varies latitudinal. Water near the equator is less salty than that found in the mid-latitudes. Pole ward saltiness is also low, because little evaporation of seawater takes place in these frigid areas. The Pacific ocean is generally warmer than the Atlantic ocean.

Amidst the southern section of the Pacific, small volcanic islands and coral atolls (small lagoons surrounded by reefs) are dotted around such as the islands of Fuji and Tahiti. The western peninsular consists of long rows of volcanic islands such as Japan and the Philippines. To the north lies the Aleutian Islands- another line of volcanoes- and the Bering Sea. The eastern coast is marked by the Americas.

The volcanic regions on the West, North and East rims are collectively known as the ‘Ring of Fire’. The consistent volcanic activity is known to be caused by the action of one crutsal plate descending below the edge of another plate. Many of the world’s strongest earthquakes are also present in this location. Along with earthquakes, Tsunamis are also common. These giant waves can reach the speeds of at least 500 miles per hour and cause appalling damage. After being seen only as a small wave out amidst the ocean by passing boats, they can reach the land as massive waves that cause much destruction to land and lives.

The tallest mountain in the world also rests in the Pacific Ocean: Mauna Kea of the Hawaiian Islands. From the base of the volcano on the ocean floor it is 33,476 feet in height. An amazing 4,441 feet higher than Mount Everest.

The Pacific Ocean also houses the deepest trench ever found in any of the world’s other oceans. The Mariana Trench is a huge 36,200 feet deep. The Mariana Trench was surveyed in 1951 by the Royal Navy vessel HMS Challenger. During the survey, the deepest part of the trench was recorded, and named after the vessel.

At 36,200 feet deep, the Mariana Trench would submerge Mount Everest with around 1.4 miles of water above to spare.

Mariana Trench

The Mariana Trench is located in the western Pacific area

Explored by many, the Japanese took the most accurate recordings in their dive in a highly specialized survey vessel, Kaiko, which they took out to the Mariana Trench and collected data using a narrow, multi-beam echo sounder.

Many simple life forms (organisms) were discovered during this dive – and it is suggested that many other life forms in this huge, deepest ocean are yet to be discovered.