Facts about Oceans

Facts about Oceans

Posted by Admin / in Science Facts

This article contains facts about oceans. The oceans cover a majority of the Earth's surface. Scientists are just starting to understand this part of our planet that is larger than the land areas. The location of the oceans have changed over time. Sea life fossils have been found on almost every land area in the world, including on Mount Everest near the highest point on Earth.

The oceans contain most of the water on the Earth. Animals and people, however, cannot drink the water from the oceans to survive. The water in the oceans contain salt. There are processes to remove the salt from the water to make it safe to drink, but the processes are very expensive.

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Ocean View From The Beach

Facts about Oceans

The shape of the oceans are like a bowl. The edges, near the continents, are shallow. Scientists call this area of the oceans the continental shelf. The continental shelf is the shallowest portion of the oceans. Sloping downward from the continental shelf is the continental slope. This area is like a cliff, but underwater. The continental rise has a more gradual slope downward, but descends all the way to the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean is a flat plain called the abyssal plain. The abyssal plain is so large that it makes up about 46 percent of the entire hard surface area of the Earth!

Viewing the water at the bottom of the ocean looks like tiny particles floating, then settling on the floor. These particles are from erosion of material on land, disturbance from waves near the beaches, pollution and volcanic ash from the sky, and decaying animals in the water. Over time this sediment has built up. In some areas, such as the Atlantic Basin, the sediment is over 10,000 feet thick! Scientists are currently studying the sediment at the bottom of the ocean to try to find out more about our planet.


  • Oceans cover about 71 percent of the Earth's surface.

  • A majority of the ocean floor is grouped into 4 categories including the continental shelf, continental slope, continental rise and the abyssal plain.

  • The continental shelf is the shallow part of the ocean floor off the coast of the continents. The average depth is less than 500 feet (152 meters).

  • The continental slope is an underwater cliff that drops off from the continental shelf to deeper water.

  • The continental rise extends from the bottom edge of the continental slope to the abyssal plain.

  • The abyssal plain is a deep flat part of the ocean. The abyssal plain is the largest part of the ocean. It makes up about 46 percent of the solid surface of the Earth.

  • There are ocean mountains on the abyssal plain. The largest mountain range in the world is there call the Mid-Ocean Ridge. This mountain range is over 60,000 miles long, passing through the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.

  • The deepest part of the ocean are the trenches in the abyssal plain.

  • Islands can form in the ocean from volcanos. The Hawaiian Islands are an example of volcanic islands.

Facts About Ocean Life

ocean facts - ocean life

Sea Turtles live in the Oceans

There is abundant life in the oceans. Many different sea animals like sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and whales all live in the oceans. There are so many different animal and plant species in the oceans, scientists do no know the exact number. It was once thought that plants and animals did not live at the great depths of the oceans, but now we know this is not true. Within the great unknown oceans, scientists guess that between several hundred thousand to over several million different plant and animal species live.

The oceans of the world are very important for life on Earth. Not only does aquatic life thrive in the world's oceans, but life in the oceans also support life on land. A tiny organism, too small to see without a microscope, called a phytoplankton, produces 80 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere through a photosynthesis process. The phytoplankton lives near the surface of the oceans. They use energy from the sun to produce oxygen and sugar from carbon dioxide and water. People and animals also rely on plants and animals for food from the oceans.


  • Animals that live in the ocean are divided into three categories including plankton, nekton and benthos. Their category is based on the depth were they generally live.

  • Plankton are the most abundant creatures in the oceans, but most are very small. Plankton live near the water surface and drift with the ocean currents. Plankton is the food source for many of the other animals in the oceans.

  • Nekton is the sea life that is able to swim. Whales, dolphins, octopus, sharks and fish all all considered nekton.

  • Benthos are the plants and animals that live on the ocean floor, but do not swim. Coral, sand dollars, oysters, clams and starfish are all benthos.

  • Scientists do not know how many plant and animal species live in the oceans. The estimates are between several hundred thousand to several million species.

  • Over 98 percent of the plant and animal species living in the oceans are benthos (live on the bottom and do no swim).

  • The largest animal on Earth, the blue whale lives in the ocean.

  • Coral grows to one of the largest organisms on earth. Coral reefs are viewable from space.


  • The Earth officially has 4 oceans, but also has smaller seas and bays that all connect to the oceans to make up a very large body of water.

  • The four oceans include the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean of the 4 oceans.

  • The second largest ocean is the Atlantic Ocean.

  • At about one-half the size of the Pacific Ocean, the third largest ocean is the Indian Ocean. Overall, the Indian Ocean has the highest average temperature, but it also has the lowest amount of oxygen in its water. With the higher temperatures and lower oxygen content, the Indian Ocean has less marine life than The Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

  • The smallest ocean is the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean also has the coldest water. It is so cold that much of the year most of the Arctic Ocean is covered in ice.

  • The deepest known part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench, which is in the Pacific Ocean east of the Mariana Islands. Scientists have used soundings to measure the deepest part of the ocean as 36,198 feet in the trench. In 1960 a French man named Jacques Piccard traveled to a depth of 35,840 in a deep water bathyscaphe called Trieste.

  • Oceans contain are known to contain saltwater, which includes water and salt. The salt content varies from under 3 percent near the outlet of major rivers and near melting glaciers to over 4.2 percent near the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. The average range of salinity is between 3.3 and 3.7 percent. Oceans contain several trace amounts of other elements and minerals. The largest percent of other materials in the oceans include chloride, sodium, sulfate and magnesium.

  • Up to 15 percent of the world's ocean surface is frozen with sea ice. The sea ice covers 10 million square miles (25 million square km) of the earth's surface.

  • The average temperature of the world's oceans is very cold, at 38.3°F (3.5°C).


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posted by Admin

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