Water And Oceanography

Major Subdivisions in the Ocean

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Imagine if you will a sphere, and approximately seventy-two percent of this sphere, is covered by a brackish mantle of ocean water, with an average depth of about 2 ½ miles. It is important to note that this mantle of ocean has five major subdivisions blanketing it.

Picture it this way: the sphere has a cap of ice called the Arctic Ocean. Its bottom surrounds the Antarctica where we have the Southern Ocean. Between these two oceans, much like the prongs on Neptune’s trident, we have the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. An interesting bit of trivia to know is, among these five oceans are 110 seas. The Dead Sea, Caspian Sea and Aral Sea are also seas, but they are landlocked seas and are not an augmentation of the world’s oceans.

Arctic Ocean – The Arctic Ocean is the smallest of the world’s oceans, and is located in the northern hemisphere. Ice is the primary feature of the Arctic Ocean, with its water being so cold there is ice on its surface for most of the year.

Though wind has an impact on the Arctic Ocean’s current, it is not the only influence. Its current is also influenced by the water from the different rivers that flow into it.

The Arctic Ocean connects to 17 seas.

Southern Ocean – The Southern Ocean completely frames the Antarctica, and is the fourth largest of the world’s oceans. Its current flows from west to east around the Antarctica, creating what is called the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The area where the cold waters of this current meet with the warmer waters of the oceans to the north, concentrates nutrients which promotes plant life in the ocean, which in turn allows for a great quantity of animal life.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current of the Southern Ocean is the world’s largest ocean current, moving 130 million cubic meters of water per second which is 100 times the flow of all the world’s rivers.

The Southern Ocean connects to 11 seas,

Pacific Ocean – The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the world’s oceans, and stretches from the Arctic Ocean in the north, to the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Mariana Trench, in the western part of the North Pacific is the deepest point in the world, stretching down to 35,797 feet.

Approximately one-third of the earth’s surface is covered by the Pacific Ocean which has close to 25,000 islands in it.

The Pacific Ocean connects to 33 seas.

Atlantic Ocean – The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world’s oceans. It was in this ocean that the Titanic sank in 1912, approximately 1000 miles east of Boston, Massachusetts.

The Milwaukee Deep, part of the Puerto Rico Trench, is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean, with a maximum depth of 28,231 feet.

Icebergs are common in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, with fog a maritime hazard from May to September and hurricanes from May to December.

The Atlantic Ocean connects to 40 seas.

Indian Ocean – The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world’s oceans, and is located between Africa, the Southern Ocean, Asia and Australia.

The Java Trench is the lowest point in the Indian Ocean, being 24,344 feet deep.

The Indian Ocean has four critical waterways which are the Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca and Bab el Mandeb.

Though there is the occasional iceberg in the Indian Ocean, it is the monsoons that can create problems, with the northeast monsoons from December to April and the southwest from June to September. The Indian Ocean also has tropical cyclones in their season.

The Indian Ocean connects to nine seas.

These five oceans are the five major subdivisions of oceans. It is interesting to note that, though there are five major subdivisions of oceans, there is but one World Ocean, as they are all connected.







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