The Pacific Ocean is known for many things, including being the deepest and largest ocean on the planet. This oceanic division ranges from the Southern Ocean (Antarctica) north to the Arctic Ocean. Additionally, it is positioned between the Americas (east) and Australia and Asia (west).
The Pacific Ocean as mapped out and measured using the Antarctic southern border, is 63,800,000 sq. miles in size. Not only does this make it the largest oceanic division, but in the hydrosphere as it covers roughly 46 percent of the water surface on Earth, and nearly a third of the total surface area. When compared, the Pacific Ocean alone is larger than all the land on Earth combined. The centers of both the Western Hemisphere and Water Hemisphere are located within the Pacific Ocean.
Also, the Pacific Ocean is separated in two sections by the equator, South Pacific Ocean and North Pacific Ocean. However, there are two exceptions to this, Gilbert Island and Galapagos Island. These two locations straddle the equator, positioning them in the North and South Pacific Ocean. Although, they are deemed legally as being fully within the South Pacific Ocean.
The average depth of the Pacific Ocean is 14,040 feet. However, the deepest point known on Earth is also in the Pacific Ocean, known as the Mariana Trench located in western North Pacific, which has a depth up to 35,797 feet. There are various other peripheral seas located in the western Pacific Ocean as well.
The eastern Pacific Ocean was first discovered by European explorers within early 16th century by Vasco Nunez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer who traveled across the Isthmus of Panama during 1513, discovering the ‘great southern sea’. He had named it ‘Mar del Sur’. However, the Pacific Ocean was traveled by people in Oceania and Asia well before European explorers discovered it, dating back to the prehistoric era. The present name ‘Pacific Ocean’ originated from Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer in 1521 when the Spanish were circumnavigating the world. Upon experiencing favorable winds after reaching the ocean, Magellan referred to it as ‘Mar Pacifico’, which translates into ‘peaceful sea’ in Spanish and Portuguese.
Landmass & Islands
The Pacific Ocean consists of the majority of islands worldwide, with roughly 25,000 islands being located in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, these islands can be categorized in three key divisions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
These islands are positioned in the southwest and includes New Guinea, the second largest island in the world. Greenland is the largest, also one of the Pacific Islands. Other islands within the Melanesian category includes Solomon Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, and Fiji.
This group is located in the Northern Pacific Ocean and west of International Date Line and includes Mariana Islands to the northwest, Marshal Islands to the west, Caroline Islands in the middle, and Kiribati islands to the southeast.
These are stretched from New Zealand in the south, to Hawaii in the north. It also includes others such as Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu Islands to the west, and Society Islands, Cook Islands in the middle, with Easter Island in the East.