Deep Facts About The Oceans

January 31, 2024 | Mathew Burke

Deep Facts About The Oceans


An ocean is a body of saline water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean, which covers almost 71% of its surface. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word sea is often used interchangeably with "ocean" in American English but, strictly speaking, a sea is a body of saline water  partly or fully enclosed by land. Marine life evolved in a completely different environment them we did as land dwellers. This has led to the development of an almost alien world below the surface. Enjoy these facts about the great wilderness we call the oceans.


1. Giant Freaking Whales

The blue whale is not just the largest animal in any ocean, it's the largest animal on Earth. In fact, they're larger than any of the dinosaurs were! Weighing in at 144 tonnes, they're heavier than a Boeing 747 (that's a jumbo jet). A single adult blue whale can consume 3,6000kg of krill a day. Yummy!

oceans

2. A Deep Dive

The average ocean depth is 2.5 miles (4 km).

Image of an ice wall and the ocean floor adjacent to remote-controlled photographic equipment at Explorer's CoverSteve Clabuesch, Wikimedia Commons

3. That's One Strange Critter

The Pink See-Through Fantasia is a strange creature found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific. Its name makes it sound like a piece of sexy lingerie, but don't be fooled: The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber.

A spectacular image of a benthopelagic sea cucumber swimming in the near freezing waters of the abyssNOAA Okeanos Explorer, Wikimedia Commons

4. Poor Leonardo Dicaprio

In 1912 the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean after having been called an unsinkable ship. It struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic to America.

View of the bow of the RMS Titanic photographed in June 2004 by the ROV Hercules during an expedition returning to the shipwreckUniversity of Rhode Island, Wikimedia Commons

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5. To the Atlantic and Beyond!

The first ocean to be crossed by an airplane was the Atlantic Ocean. It was also the first ocean to be crossed by a ship. 

Oceans factsPixabay

6. I'll Just Nibble On Your Neck a Little Bit...

Vampire Squid live in Monterey Bay. They're called "vampire" not because they drink blood (they subsist on plankton) but because of their high intelligence. They've been known to create complex geometrical patterns on the ocean floor.

Illustration of Vampyroteuthis infernalisCarl Chun, Wikimedia Commons

7. Take that, You Mean Dolphins

14 billion pounds (6B Kg.) of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year. Most of it is plastic. No wonder we've got the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to deal with!

Kanapou Bay, on the Island of Kaho'olawe in HawaiiNOAA Marine Debris Program, Flickr

8. Garbage Soup

The Great Pacific garbage patch, also described as the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine debris in the central North Pacific Ocean that was discovered between in 1985. Contrary to media portrayals of the patch as a giant island of garbage, it's more accurately garbage soup: areas of water (there are multiple garbage patches) with a high concentration of micro plastics.

Plastic bags and other trash littered into the ocean from people float on the sea surfaceShane Gross, Shutterstock

9. Really Deep Dive

The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam. Challenger Deep is approximately 36,200 feet deep.

Size comparison of the Challenger Deep with Mount EverestNomi887, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

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10. If Only The Energizer Bunny had Power Like This.

If we could capture just 0.1% of the ocean's kinetic energy caused by tides, we could satisfy the current global energy demand 5 times over.

Photo of Kislaya Guba tidal power station, snowy hills in the backgroundPress-service of RusHydro, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

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11. Quack, Quack, Quack!

29,000 rubber ducks were lost at sea in 1992. These ducks are still being found, and paying attention to where they wash up and travel to has revolutionized our knowledge of ocean science.

Worst Guests Rubber duck, Soccer, European championship 2016 imageAlexas_Fotos, Pixabay

12. Give Me a Slice of Ocean Please

The Atlantic Ocean is big enough to let every person in the US have their own cubic kilometer in it.

Photography of Atlantic ocean sea shore with rocks and plantsRich Flight22, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

13. Those Fishes Are Rich

The world's oceans contain nearly 20 million tons of gold.

Gold Treasure in the SeaGallila-Photo, Pixabay

14. More Deep Diving

Cuvier's beaked whales are the deepest diving mammals. They've been recorded to dive to a depth of 3km for over 2 hours.

Rare Dolphin named Cuvier's whale swimming in the seaAndrea Izzotti, Shutterstock

15. A Little Hockey, Eh?

In Newfoundland, Canada, when the Atlantic Ocean freezes, people play hockey on it.

Photography of an Ice hockey stick and puckSanteri Viinamäki, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

16. It's Cold and Dark Down Here

At the ocean's deepest point, the water pressure is the equivalent of having 50 jumbo jets piled on top of you. Even Chuck Norris wouldn't survive down there.

Humans have proven that we can build technology to endure such pressure. In 1960, Lieutenant Walsh and his Swiss colleague Jacques Piccard reached a depth of almost 36,000 feet in a submarine. The dive to the Challenger Deep took nearly five hours, and the men spent 20 minutes on the bottom of the ocean.

Jacques Piccard (right), co-designer of the bathyscaphe, and Ernest Virgil loading iron shot ballast into Trieste, prior to her record 18,600 foot descent in in the Marianas TrenchU.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph, Wikimedia Commons

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17. Thank You, Algae

70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced in the oceans. How? Well, our dear oceanic plants (mainly phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) are hard at work photosynthesizing it for us.

Photography Forests of the Sea, Phytoplankton, Marine plantsFlickr, Dimitris Siskopoulos

18. Old Geezers

Sharks first appeared in our oceans 400 million yeas ago. They've survived 5 massive planetary change events. These changing events ended almost all life on earth. The last one occurred around 65 million yeas ago and ended the dinosaurs. But not the sharks. Those miraculous, saber-toothed (but mostly gentle) critters are here to stay.

close-up imagery of small tooth sand tiger shark swimming in the oceanFlickr, NOAA Ocean Exploration

19. An Ocean Half Full... Is Still A Lot of Water.

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all of Earth's water.

 Digital rendering of the satellite view of Indian OceanPrzemek Pietrak, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

20. Let's Explore!

95% of the underwater world remains unexplored.

Diver investigating the wreck of the U-boat U-352, ray hiding in the sand.National Marine Sanctuaries, Wikimedia Commons

21. Oldest Geezers

Jellyfish have been in our oceans for more than 650 million years. This means they out date dinosaurs and sharks. They also seem to be resistant to fishing. In 2009, a Japanese fishing trawler tried to pull in nets of dozens of Nomura's jellyfish. These are massive critters, growing up to 2 meters in diameter and weighing about 450 pounds each. The boat capsized trying to reel them in.

red  jellyfish swimming underwaterMagda Ehlers, Pexels

22. Crash and Burn! Or Disappear Completely.

In the Bermuda Triangle, at least 1000 lives have been lost within the last 100 years as a result of ship and airplane crashes. When ships go missing in the triangle, debris often cannot be found because the Gulf Stream quickly gets rid of it.

photo depicting the Bermuda triangle fort Lauderdale, war airplanes, shark and fishsteve baxter, Flickr

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23. You Thought We Had Big Brains?

The sperm whale’s huge head, which is up to a third of its body length, houses the heaviest brain in the animal kingdom, weighing in at a whopping 9kg. This is still relatively small considering sperm whales weigh 15,000kg.

 A mother sperm whale and her calf off the coast of MauritiusGabriel Barathieu, Wikimedia Commons

24. Bad Army. Very Bad.

The U.S. Army admitted it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard gas agents into the ocean from 1944 to 1970, along with 400,000 chemical-filled explosives and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste.

Photo Depicting Pollution, Toxic products, Environment PollutionATDSPHOTO, Pixabay

25. Yay! Pee to Your Heart's Content.

It's okay to pee in the ocean since 95% of urine is water and the nitrogen in urea is used to feed ocean plants.

Silhouette of Boy in Water on a sunsetDana Tentis, Pexels

26. Message in a Bottle, Baby

A man called Harold Hackett has put over 4800 messages in bottles into the ocean and has gotten 3000 responses back.

Photo Depicting a Message in a bottle with open cork placed on a beachSettergren, Pixabay

27. Zap!

Electric eels produce enough electricity to power 10 electric bulbs. If you were to encounter a shock from an electric eel, could it end you? Maybe. Although there are few documented instances of people dying from an electric eel's shock, it's possible. A single jolt could incapacitate a person long enough to cause drowning. Multiple shocks could cause heart failure.

Photo of Electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). Taken at the New England AquariumSteven G. Johnson, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

28. I Assume Some Didn't Make it

Before compasses, Vikings navigated the ocean using birds, whales, celestial bodies, chants and rhymes. I'm thankful we now have compasses. And sonar. And GPS.

Close-up of a Viking ship on a clear blue sea and blue sky backgroundBarnabas Davoti, Pexels

29. Bad Humans. Very Bad.

In three decades, the world's oceans will contain more discarded plastic than fish when measured by weight, researchers say.

Photo of a dolphin playing with a plastic bag swimming underwaterChantal Halley, Flickr

30. Very very bad.

Harmful algal blooms, caused by an excess of nutrients -- mainly nitrogen from agricultural fertilizers -- have created nearly 150 coastal deoxygenated “black zones” worldwide, ranging from 1 to 70,000 sq km. This basically means that the fertilizers feed algae, and as the alga population booms, they slurp up all the oxygen. As oxygen levels deplete, other marine life struggles to survive.

Algal bloom besieges Boracay’s shorelineRom Dulo for the Philippine News Agency, Wikimedia Commons

31. Bridge Over the Ocean (Kinda)

Europe and Africa are only separated by 14.3 km (8.9 mi) of ocean and there are talks of creating the longest bridge ever to join them.

Photo of a Earth Globe on a blurred backgroundFabdeAmbres, Pixabay

32. Jellyfish Stroke Beats Front Crawl

Jellyfish are the ocean's most efficient swimmers, consuming 48% less oxygen than any other swimming animal.

A Pacific sea nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, USADan90266, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

33. Arrrr, Matey!

 As kids we all read about, or watched movies featuring, ruthless pirates who would desperately hunt for buried gold. For whatever reason,

There's up to US$60 billion in sunken treasure sitting at the bottom of the world's oceans.

 Open treasure chest sunken at the bottom of the sea surrounded by fish high contrast imageFer Gregory, Shutterstock

34. But How Do We Drink It?

Scientists have discovered that deep beneath the Earth's surface lurks an enormous reservoir of water, 3 times the size of the oceans.

illustration of the earth splashing in the waterdoreen_kinistino, Pixabay

35. Shark Vs. Coconut

Compared to how deadly they actually are, sharks get an unfair amount of fear and criticism More people are hurt every year by falling coconuts in Asia alone, than people being ended by sharks around the world.

Photo of a Coconut placed on a sandy beachSEIMORI-STUDIO, Pixabay

36. Danger!

The most dangerous creature in the sea is the box jellyfish. These things don't have a venomous bite, rows of sharp teeth, or even an obvious mouth for that matter. But nevertheless, the box jellyfish, also known as the sea wasp, is more responsible for human deaths on the continent of Australia than snakes, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles put together.

Box jellyfish over a sand patchPeter Southwood, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

37. Bigger Danger for the Sharks!

As many as 100 million sharks are ended each year for their meat and fins, which are used for shark-fin soup. Hunters typically catch the sharks, defin them while alive and throw them back into the ocean where they either drown or bleed to the end.

Great White Shark swimming in the Pacific OceanJennifer Mellon Photos, Shutterstock

38. Reefs Are Awesome

Reefs protect human populations along coastlines from wave and storm damage by serving as buffers between oceans and near-shore communities.

Colorful underwater landscape of a coral reef with reflectionJim E Maragos, Wikimedia Commons

 

39. Not Looking Good For Reefs Either...

Reefs are being destroyed by destructive fishing practices. These include cyanide fishing, blast or dynamite fishing, bottom trawling, and muro-ami (banging on the reef with sticks)

Bleached branching coral (Acropora sp.) at Heron IslandAcropora, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

40. Really Awesome

Despite all the havoc being wrecked upon it by human carelessness, the Great Barrier Reef (measuring 2,000 km in length) is still the largest living structure on Earth. It can be seen from the Moon.

Aerial View of Great Barrier ReefAnk Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

41.The Real Bottom Line

The bottom line is that we're hurting our oceans. 40% of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.

Photo of plastic scattered on beach shoreRon Lach, Pexels

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

I hope you enjoyed reading! Please share this with your friends to spread this all-important message: We need to protect our wonderful oceans, or our kids may just know them as giant, watery graveyards.


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