Which is Bigger? Which is Deeper?
About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. The largest bodies of water are called oceans and there are five ocean in all. Books published prior to the spring of 2000 would have said there were only four oceans, the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian. The fifth ocean now recognized by the Interrnational Hydrographic Organization is the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica. The Southern Ocean includes all water below latitude 60 degrees south. Like the Arctic Ocean, much of the Southern Ocean is frozen.
I had the opportunity to see both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. I visited Barrow Alaska and walked along the shore of the Arctic Ocean. At one point farther from town there was a sign warning about the presence of polar bears. No, I did not see any polar bears and I was glad.
Young boys in “the lower 48,” including Texas, talk about cars and pickup trucks. The teens I had an opportunity to chat within Barrow told me about going whale hunting. Whale is an important part of the diet of the Inuits/Eskimos in Barrow. When a whale is killed it is floated as close to shore as possible, then a cable is connected to the whale and drug to shore with some large industrial vehicle. It was my understanding that the crew that killed the whale was given a larger part of the meat and blubber, but others in the community shared in this bounty. Deep holes in the ground are dug and serve as freezers for food, after all the permafrost in Barrow is as much as 1,300 ft (400 m) deep.
Raw pieces of whale blubber with skin taken from the head of Bowhead whale is called muktuk. It is eaten raw. I observed large slabs of blubber being cut into small pieces; the smell was not pleasing to me, thus I chose not to participate in eating this delicacy. Yes, I am adventurous, but this does not include what I eat. I am not really a picky eater, but I don’t eat things that I’ve dissected in the lab. I like my food dipped in batter and deep fried. I don’t eat food with eyes and my first experience with lobster was not good. I was shocked when the carcass of a lobster was brought out on a platter with tools to dig out the meat. Yikes!
I visited the geographic South Pole in December of 1997. Flying from Christchurch New Zealand I saw icebergs as we approached the shoreline of Antarctica. This was another exciting adventure. The photo shows me touching the top of the metal pole that marks the Earth’s geographic south pole.
Ocean Areas and Depths
Note that there seems to be very little consistency in data about the average depths of the oceans. Basically, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean have about the same average depth, but the Indian Ocean has the deepest trench.
Area of 155,557,000 sq km (60,060,700 square miles)
The average depth is 3,970 m (13025 ft)
Its deepest point is Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench, Western Pacific Ocean at 10,994 meters (36,070 feet )
This is also the deepest point in the world.
Area of 76,762,000 sq km (29,637,900 square miles)
Its average depth is 3,926 m (12,880 feet)
Its deepest point is Puerto Rico Trench, 8648 meters (28,374 feet)
Area of 68,566,000 sq km (26,469,900 square miles)
Its average depth 3,963 m (12,762 ft)
Its deepest point is Diamantina Deep in Diamantina Trench, at 8,047 m (26,401 ft)
Southern Ocean (Antarctica Ocean)
Area of 20,327,000 sq km (7,848,300 square miles )
Its average depth is 3270 m (10728 ft)
Its deepest point is at the Southern end of the South Sandwich Trench: 7235 meters (23,736 feet)
Area of 14,056,000 sq km (5,427,000 square miles)
Its average depth is 1,205 m (3953 ft)
Its deepest point is Eurasia Basin, at 5450 meters (17,881 feet)
For more information about Oceans as well as fun investigations, see “Janice VanCleave’s Oceans for Every Kid.” This book can be purchased on Amazon as well as on other online booksellers. If you sell my science books contact me and I’ll add a link to your store. Contact me at: ASKJVC@gmail.com
Book Correction for “Oceans for Every Kid”
I need to make a correction in chapter 2, Great Bodies of Water. In this chapter you will find this statement:
“The Indian Ocean is only slightly smaller than the Atlantic, but the Indian Ocean
is much deeper has a deeper trench than the Atlantic.”
I’ve marked through the incorrect information. The average depths of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean varies from one source to another. But, basically the two oceans have about the same average depth. But, the Indian Ocean has a deeper trench than does the Atlantic Ocean. The deepest point in the Indianian Ocean is Diamantina Deep in Diamantina trench, at 8,047 m (26,401 ft) deep. The deepest trench in the Atlantic Ocean is Puerto Rico Trench, at 8648 meters (28,374 feet).