The largest and deepest of World Oceans is the Pacific Ocean. It extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic and is bounded by Asia and Australia. At 63.8 million square miles, it covers about 46% of Earth’s hydrosphere making it larger than all of Earth’s land area. Pacific ocean detaches Asia and Australia from the Americas. The average depth is 4,280 m (14,040 ft) and the maximum is Marianas Trench which goes deep to 10,911 m (35,797 ft).
The Pacific Ocean, as most of the world’s oceans, was formed millions of years ago with unique topography. Because of its large size, it plays an important role in weather patterns around the globe.
Pacific Ocean History
There is no identifiable time when the Pacific Ocean was developed this is because the ocean floor continuously recycles itself as it moves. The latest claims are that the oldest known Pacific Ocean floor is about 180 million years old.
Human migrations have occurred in the Pacific in prehistoric times. Austronesian people in Taiwan practiced long-distance canoe travel. They spread themselves and their languages to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia.
Famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan named this ocean as the Pacific Ocean in 1520. It was called “pacific” (adj. peaceful) due to the calmness of the water at the time.
Pacific ocean lies between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east, the Southern Ocean to the South, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. The area surrounding the Pacific Ocean is often called the Pacific Ring of Fire. This region has the world’s largest area of volcanism and earthquakes.
Temperatures in the Pacific Ocean vary from freezing in the poleward areas to about 25 to 30° C. Its salinity also varies by latitude. The nearer the water is by the equator, the less salty it is compared to those found in the mid-latitudes. That is due to the profuse equatorial precipitation throughout the year.
As it was to the salinity, climate also relies greatly on latitude along with the presence of landmasses and types of air moving around or over its waters. Sea surface temperatures play a vital role because it affects the availability of moisture in various regions. The climate is tropical, wet, and warm throughout most of the year near the equator. Far north Pacific and South Pacific are milder and have greater seasonal variances in weather patterns.
The Pacific Ocean is exposed to geological activities such as volcanism and earthquakes since their seafloors sit above subduction zones where the rims of the Earth are pressed down against others after a collision. Hotspot volcanic activities also happen in some areas where magma is forced up from the Earth’s mantle through the crust creating underwater volcanoes that eventually form island and seamounts.
As the Pacific Ocean covers 28% of the world’s surface, it is home to diverse fish, plants, and other animals. It plays a major role in the world economy because it provides easy access to ship goods from Asia to North America and vice versa. The fishing industry is also happening to the large portion of the Pacific Ocean. It is also a rich source of natural resources, including oil and other minerals.