Over 70 percent of the world is covered with water – that’s a lot of beaches for you beach lovers. Until the year 2000, there were only four oceans – the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian and the Arctic Oceans. In 2000, scientists labeled a new ocean, the Southern Ocean, which is near Antarctica. The truth is, there’s only one ocean, because all the oceans run into each other, but scientists have labeled the various areas of the ocean by different names.
Not only do oceans provide a home for thousands of plants and animals, they also help regulate the earth’s weather and temperature. The oceans keep the earth warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
The Arctic Ocean sits at the top of the planet and is covered with ice for much of the year. During the summer, most of the ice melts away, although some ice remains permanently frozen at the North Pole. This permanent ice gets smaller each year as the earth warms up. The Arctic Ocean covers 5.4 million square miles, with an average depth of 3,953 feet.
The Atlantic Ocean covers 29.7 million square miles and makes up 29 percent of the world’s oceans. It borders Europe to the east and North America and South America to the west. The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean is 10,950 feet. The Atlantic Ocean is slowly getting bigger because the plates beneath the surface are pushing apart.
The Indian Ocean, which lies between Africa, Australia and India, is the world’s warmest ocean. It covers 26.5 million square miles with an average depth of 13,002 feet. The warm water causes summer tropical storms.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth, but it is shrinking because of the Earth’s tectonic plate movement. This ocean is filled with small islands. The Pacific Ocean covers 60 million square miles with an average depth of 15,215 feet. The Mariana Trench – the deepest ocean point in the world – is 35,840 feet deep.
The Southern Ocean lies at the South Pole, but has no continental boundaries. Much of this ocean freezes in the winter. The Southern Ocean covers 7.8 million square miles with an average depth of 14,763 feet.
Fun Facts All About the Oceans of the World for Kids
- One cubic foot of ocean water contains over 2 pounds of salt. The Red Sea and the Persian Gulf have the saltiest water.
- The oceans become salty because water picks up small amounts of dissolved salt minerals as it flows through rivers and streams. When this water enters the ocean, it slowly makes the ocean saltier.
- Winds cause the waves on the ocean’s surface. The tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon.
- The water spins clockwise in northern oceans; it spins counterclockwise in southern oceans.
- In the Atlantic Ocean is a huge mountain range. It is longer than the Rockies, Himalaya and Andes mountains combined.
Oceans of the World Vocabulary
- Regulate: control
- Flow: moves smoothly
- Surface: area at the top of the ocean
- Gravitational: caused by gravity
- Counterclockwise: the opposite direction of clockwise, which is the direction a clock runs
Learn More All About the Oceans of the World
Watch and listen to this video all about the oceans of the world:
A video song about the 5 oceans of the world.
Oceans of the world Q&A
Question: What is the water cycle?
Answer: The sun’s heat causes water on the Earth to evaporate. The water droplets condense together to form clouds. When the clouds become heavy, the water drops as rain, and the process begins again.
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