Pacific Ocean Facts
- Depth: 14,000 feet, or 4,280 meters (mean)
- Deepest Point: Mariana Trench, which reaches a depth of 35,760 feet, or 10,911 meters
- Temperature: Varies between 29.5F (-1.4C) in poleward areas and 86F (30C) near to the equator
- Discovered: 16th Century
- Discovered by: Vasco de Balboa
- Area: 63.8 million square miles, or 165.25 million square kilometers
- Covers: 46% of Earth’s water surface and a third of Earth’s total surface area
- Name Origins: “Mar Pacifico” in 1521 which is Portuguese for “Peaceful Sea”
- Divisions: Divided by the equator into the North and South Pacific
- Boundaries: Asia, Australia, the Americas
- Science: The Pacific Ocean Is Home to Diverse Plant Life
- Geology: The Pacific Ocean Basin Is Home To 75% of the World’s Volcanoes
- Geography: The Pacific Ocean Is Actually Shrinking in Size by an Inch a Year
- Environment: Marine Pollution Has Increased by 100 Times Over the Last 40 Years
- Historical Tasman Was the First Person to Enter the South Pacific from the West
- Economy: The Pacific Ocean Is a Major Contributor to the World Economy – 60% of the World’s Fish Comes from Here
- Nature: There Are 6 Endangered Species in the Pacific Ocean
- Geography: It Is the Largest Ocean in the World, Covering Nearly 84,000 miles of Coastline
- History: The Ocean Was Mapped by Abraham Ortelius in the 16th Century
- Animals Like the Unusual Yeti Crab Dwell in the Pacific Ocean
- There Are More Than 25,000 Islands in the Pacific
- Human Migration in the Pacific Started in 3000BC
- In 2014, Underwater Volcanoes Were Spotted Erupting from the Air
- The Pacific Ocean Has the Ability to Affect the Climate of the Entire World!
- The Pacific Ocean is 15 Times Larger Than the USA
The Pacific Ocean Is Home to Diverse Plant Life
Many people are interested in Pacific Ocean facts relating to the flora and fauna found in the water. The plant life found within the sea is as diverse as the ocean itself. It is home to plant life such as kelp, phytoplankton and algae. Kelp lives in the colder climes of the sea, in two different formations – either in beds or forests. The difference between these are that forests have something called a surface canopy on them, whereas beds do not. Kelp is something that is very beneficial to marine life and in periods of stormy weather in the Pacific it can also help to slow currents down.
The other major plant feature of the ocean is the coral reefs. These are prevalent in the Pacific and make a protected “home” for many species of marine animal that otherwise would not survive in the sea. Coral reefs in the Pacific also help to regulate the food chain.
The Pacific Ocean Basin Is Home To 75% of the World’s Volcanoes
These volcanoes actually form a ring around the Pacific Ocean basin and are known as the Ring of Fire. Due to the amount of volcanic activity around this basin, the area is also prone to earthquakes. The ocean plates can sometimes move under the tectonic plates which can then make areas in and around the Pacific prone to tsunamis (or at the very least, warnings of tsunamis). In 1883, a volcano in Krakatoa exploded, killing almost 37,000 people. This provides us with one of the more shocking Pacific Ocean facts.The Southern Pacific is where you will find a phenomena called atolls which are coral polyps, formed on top of submerged volcanoes. The coral grows on the volcano side and when it reaches the center of the “old” volcano, it dies. The atoll then grows outward from that in a ring shape.
The Pacific Ocean Is Actually Shrinking in Size by an Inch a Year
This is down to the effects of plate tectonics in the area. The shrinkage is occurring on three sides of the ocean and equates to 1,600 feet (0.52 kilometers) a year. In sharp contrast to this, the Atlantic Ocean is increasing by the same amount every year.
Marine Pollution Has Increased by 100 Times Over the Last 40 Years
When we examine Pacific Ocean facts, we find out that marine pollution has increased by a factor of 100 times over the last 40 years, and that this is most prevalent in the northeast part of the Pacific Ocean. The main culprit for the pollution of the water is small fragments of plastic which float in the water, polluting the surrounding environment and endangering wildlife. In addition to this, the Pacific has been polluted by the debris from satellite crashes, such as Mars 96, which broke up over a 200-mile stretch of the water, and also hit Chile and Bolivia.
Abel Tasman Was the First Person to Enter the South Pacific from the West
Historical Pacific Ocean facts show us that Tasman (c1603 – c1659) was the first man to achieve the feat of entering the South Pacific from the west and sailing round Australia. At a time when many European explorers were sailing into the waters and losing their lives, he was a rare phenomenon. He also named Van Diemen’s Land (which we now know as Tasmania) and discovered Tonga and the Fiji Islands. He was one of four Dutch explorers who went to look for profit in the areas surrounding the ocean.
60% of the World’s Fish Comes from The Pacific Ocean
In the last decade and a half it is estimated that 60% of all fish caught came directly from the Pacific Ocean. The ocean most benefits the nations which its waters directly touch. It offers particular benefits in terms of fishing, oil and gas, and also in terms of products like sand for the building industry. Energy supplies to countries like China, USA, New Zealand and Peru rely directly on the Pacific Ocean for offshore oil and gas reserves.
There Are 6 Endangered Species in the Pacific Ocean
In terms of Pacific Ocean facts relating to animals, we know that at least six species are endangered. Of these, possibly the most well-known is the whale. However, seals, turtles, sea otters and sea lions are also in danger of extinction. Probably the least well-known is a creature called the dugong – a marine mammal which is the only one of its type to be a herbivore. One of the main reasons for the endangered status of these creatures is oil pollution in the South Pacific and South China seas.
It Is the Largest Ocean in the World, Covering Nearly 84,000 miles of Coastline
Of the five major oceans in the world, the Pacific is the largest. The Atlantic is the second largest, and the smallest is the Arctic. The Pacific has many strategically important waterways within its area – these range from The Torres Straits to Singapore and Taiwan.
The Ocean Was Mapped by Abraham Ortelius in the 16th Century
Another one of the very interesting Pacific Ocean facts relating to history concerns Abraham Ortelius. He was also the man responsible for naming the Ocean the Mar Pacifico in honor of Ferdinand Magellan, who sailed it between the years of 1519 and 1522 and found it to be an ocean that was much calmer than the Atlantic. Mar Pacifico roughly translates as “Peaceful Sea”. However, when Magellan sailed it, it seems he was lucky as the ocean is, as we have seen, prone to tropical storms, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Animals Like the Unusual Yeti Crab Dwell in the Pacific Ocean
The Yeti Crab is one of the most interesting creatures to dwell in the Pacific. It is a most peculiar crustacean, and was only discovered in 2005. It got its name because it does actually look like a Yeti with claws. It was first discovered near the Antarctic Ridge and tends to inhabit the ocean floor. As it cannot see, it is believed that the crab’s hair acts as a sensor so it can be aware of its surroundings. The crab eats mussels, shrimps and other shellfish.
There Are More Than 25,000 Islands in the Pacific
Indonesia alone consists of 17, 508 of these, and Japan around 3,000. This is one of the very interesting geographical Pacific Ocean facts. The concentration of islands is highest in the Southern Pacific, near to the equator. The Pacific is home to the second largest island in the world, New Guinea.
Human Migration in the Pacific Started in 3000BC
Although it was officially discovered in the 16th century and named in 1521, the Pacific Ocean has experienced important periods of human migration since at least 3000BC. It was at this time that the people who inhabited Taiwan began to experiment with canoe travel over great distances and, as a result, were able to spread themselves and their culture into countries like Indonesia, Madagascar and the Philippines.
In 2014, Underwater Volcanoes Were Spotted Erupting from the Air in the Pacific
There are a lot of surprising Pacific Ocean facts, including this one: in 2014, two pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska over the Pacific noticed, near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka, a series of bright orange and red glowing lights in the water. At the time, they assumed they were caused by a thunderstorm, but as there were no meteorological reports of any for that day, the only other phenomena the lights can be put down to is an underwater volcano. This isn’t unusual and has happened before. In 2013, the same sort of exploding underwater volcano ended up creating a new island near Japan!
The Pacific Ocean Has the Ability to Affect the Climate of the Entire World!
This is because of something called El Nino. Every few years, in the South Pacific, warmer currents occur. This, in turn, causes higher temperatures on the coastlines around Chile and Ecuador. The fluctuations in temperature can be quite small, between 2 or 3 degrees or as much as 10. Depending on how much the temperature rises, it can trigger fluctuations in weather all over the world – and also increase the likelihood of extreme events like tornadoes, earthquakes and storms occurring in those countries which are most prone. The most severe occurrence of this was in 1982 when temperatures in the Pacific rose by 10 degrees. This brought floods to Chile, drought to Australia, severe storms to Canada and typhoons to the islands of the South Pacific.
The Pacific Ocean is 15 Times Larger Than the USA
It actually covers 28% of the entire surface of the globe – which is larger than the total land area of the world. A truly awesome statistic is that it is actually 15 times larger than the entire United States of America.
Pacific Ocean Facts – Facts about the Pacific Ocean Summary
One of the many facts about the Pacific Ocean is that it was discovered by Vasco de Balboa in the 16th century. It is 63.8 million square miles in area. It is home to 75% of the world’s volcanoes, some of which are underwater and have been prone to exploding over recent years. The ocean is actually shrinking in size by an inch every single year. It is home to more than 25,000 different islands.