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Oceans of the World

Written By: Peter Whiting

Oceans cover more than 70% of the world's surface and hold 97% of all water on the planet. People who study oceans, called oceanographers, have identified five distinct oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern oceans. Although they are considered separate, they actually all flow into each other. The waters of all oceans are saltwater, and humans aren't able to drink ocean water because of its salt content. But the oceans are still important because of all of the plants and animals that live in them. Oceans also let us use ships to move things from one place to another. Oceans are also fun to swim in and boat on.

Pacific Ocean

The deepest and biggest ocean on Earth is the Pacific Ocean. It begins just south of the Arctic Ocean and ends at the boundary of the Southern Ocean. It is bordered by Australia and Asia to the west and North America and South America to the east. The Pacific Ocean covers 63,800,000 square miles, about 32% of the total surface of Earth.

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean covers about 41,100,000 square miles of Earth's surface (about 20% of the total surface). It extends between Africa and Europe on its eastern side and North America and South America on its western side. Its northern boundary is the Arctic Ocean. The Southern Ocean marks its southern boundary.

Indian Ocean

The third-largest ocean on Earth is the Indian Ocean. It contains about 20% of Earth's surface water and covers 27,240,000 square miles. Its southern boundary is the Southern Ocean. The continent of Asia marks its northern boundary, while Africa is the western boundary and Australia is the ocean's eastern boundary.

Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean is sometimes referred to as the Antarctic Ocean. It's the southernmost ocean on Earth. It's also one of the smallest oceans, and it's the newest ocean to be named.

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is the world's smallest ocean and is sometimes referred to as the Arctic Sea. It is also the coldest ocean on the planet. The ocean includes the North Pole and is surrounded by North America, Asia, and Europe. Most of the year, the ocean is covered in sea ice. Because of heavy freshwater flowing into the ocean from rivers and streams, it is also the least salty of all five oceans.

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