Ocean Fun Facts

Oceans Around the World!

Hey Kids!  The sentence below is called a mnemonic.  The first letter of each word corresponds with the first letter of an ocean!

If you learn this saying, it will help you remember all the oceans. 

Helpful memory clue:  A. P. A. I. –           A            Pool       Around        Islands
                                                                                                                              Artic        Pacific      Atlantic           Indian

     The world’s oceans—the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Arctic Ocean—cover nearly three-fourths of Earth’s surface.  For thousands of years, these oceans acted as barriers to trade and communication.  People didn't know that all of the oceans were connected.  Today, however, people use oceans for travel and trade all over the world.

Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is Earth’s largest ocean.  All seven continents could fit over the Pacific Ocean, and there would still be room for another Asia! The Pacific extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the continent of Antarctica in the south.  North and South America form the eastern edge of this great ocean, while Asia and Australia border the Pacific to the west.

The Pacific Ocean serves as a major trade route between countries that lies along its coast.  In fact, much of the world’s trade takes place between those countries.

The Pacific Ocean is so deep that in some places more than 100 Statues of Liberty could be stacked on top of one another and they would still be underwater.

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest ocean on Earth.

The Atlantic Ocean stretches from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the continent of Antarctica in the South.  North America and South America make up its coastline, while Europe and Africa border the Atlantic on the east.  Like the Pacific, the Atlantic Ocean is an important trade route for the world.  Ships leaving the U.S.'s Atlantic ports sail to African ports and European ports.  Other ships sail down the coast to South America.

Since 1914, ships have been able to travel quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans using the Panama Canal.  The canal cuts through a narrow isthmus that joins North America and South America.  This route shortened the sea voyage between New York City and San Francisco by about 7,800 miles.  However, the canal is too small for some of today’s largest ships to use.

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third-largest ocean on Earth and most of it lies south of the equator.  The continents that border this ocean are Australia to the east, Asia, to the north, and Africa to the west.  Like the Atlantic and Pacific, the Indian Ocean has Antarctica as its southern border.

Sailing routes around and across the Indian Ocean have long connected coastal areas in Africa, Asia, and Australia.  In 1498 Europeans began sailing around the tip of Africa to reach the Indian Ocean.

∞ Today, trading ships sailing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean no longer have to make the long journey around Africa.  They can reach the Indian Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea by sailing through the Suez Canal in Egypt.  This canal links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.  Other ships on the Indian Ocean are huge tankers carrying much of the world’s oil from the Persian Gulf.

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and northernmost of earth’s oceans.  Most of its waters are ice-covered year-round.  For this reason, it is perhaps the least-known body of water in the world.

For centuries, explorers tried to find a route through the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but none succeeded.  The harsh northern climate and the ice-covered waters made exploration of the Arctic Ocean too difficult and dangerous.  Today’s technology, however, has greatly improved navigation on the Arctic Ocean.  Guide planes and ice-breaking ships now travel with the trade ships sailing on the Arctic Ocean.  The guide planes fly overhead, scouting out the easiest route through the ice.  Then they radio this information to the ice-breaking ships.  The ice-beaking ships move ahead of the trade ships and break a path through the ice.

Fast Facts

Pacific Ocean    64,185,629 square miles               Greatest Depth – 35,837 ft

Atlantic Ocean  33,424,006 square miles               Greatest Depth – 30,246 ft

Indian Ocean     28,351,484 square miles                Greatest Depth – 24,460 ft

Arctic Ocean    5,108,132 square miles                  Greatest Depth – 18,456 ft