The Earth is referred as the Blue Planet because from the space, our world looks like a blue sphere. Water made up almost our entire planet and most of it is ocean water. To us, the oceans provide us food but to scientists, our oceans have so many mysteries that we have yet to uncover.
Down in the depths of our oceans lie mysterious and almost alien-like world. For more than hundreds of years, mankind has been studying the secrets of the oceans. So far, scientists reckon that we only know little facts about the oceans but as technology progress, scientists may discover more things about our seas.
Here are some of amazing facts about our oceans that you may have no idea about.
94% of lives on Earth live in the waters
Almost all lives on Earth are aquatic. They live in the seas and oceans. These make us land dwellers minority on our planet. We may not know or be aware of what or who they are because we haven’t yet identified the vast number of organisms living in our oceans.
We know more about outer space than our oceans
This may sound strange but humanity has only been able to explore less than 5% of the oceans. It was only after four years after Armstrong set foot on the moon that a French-American team dived 9000 feet into the depths to explore the Great Rift. It turns out that we have better maps of the surface of Mars than the ocean floor. The greatest mountain range on earth – the Mid-Oceanic Ridge- has never been explored.
Did you know that the ocean can have its own lakes, rivers and waterfalls (all underwater)?
This may sound weird but lakes, rivers and waterfalls do really exist underwater. Factors such as salt density, temperature, and ocean floor topography can work together to create different bodies of waters in the water. Scientists have documented lakes with shorelines, waterfalls and some lakes with their own waves all under water.
The Challenger Deep, the ocean’s deepest recorder point, is highly pressurized
The Challenger Deep is located in the Mariana Trench. It is 36,200 feet below sea level and it is the lowest recorded spot on Earth. It is a highly pressurized place with over 11,318 tons of pressure per square meter. If a person stands in the Challenger Deep, he would feel like carrying at least 50 jumbo jets while grasping for breaths. But creatures that have no bones thrive under these conditions.
Did you know that a river in the ocean is bigger than the Amazon River?
Amazon River may enter the record books as the largest river on land but is it is dwarfed by Kuroshio Current. The underwater river is just off the coast of Japan. The river’s current can travel up to 40-121 kilometers per day or 3 miles per hour. It may not sound much but imagine the Gulf Stream (slightly smaller underwater than Kuroshio Current) has a current that moves over a hundred times than all the rivers in world combine!
Garbage. The oceans are full of garbage.
In 1997, a giant garbage heap has been discovered floating around the North Pacific. People have been dumping so many garbage in the oceans that it is estimated that we dump garbage more than double the amount of the fish we take out from the seas. Studies have estimated that we garbage dumped in the waters is three times the weight of fish caught.
Icebergs store huge amounts of water.
You may laugh at this information and say that it is obvious. But did you know that one large Antarctic iceberg can supply the city of Los Angeles with water for 5 years. Imagine the possibilities if we can harness this resource, there would be no shortage of clean water.
The Great Barrier Reef is bigger/larger than most Western European countries
The largest living structure on earth is capable of being seen from space. It is about 2300 km long and it covers more area than Great Britain. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of almost 3000 individual reefs and 1000 islands. It is one of the most if not the most biodiverse area in the world.
Yes! Sea serpents do exist!
Myths and sailors’ stories almost always include weird and giant creatures. One of the most famous creatures in these stories is the sea serpents. But in reality, sea serpents are called oarfish. By their looks, you could understand why sailors in the past may have been spooked by them. Measuring up to 56ft long, they have long and bright red fin going down their spine. They may even be the inspiration of dragons in some stories.
An ocean floor has more biodiversity than any rainforest in the world
Yes, reefs are home to the most diverse fish populations that we know but some areas in the depths of the ocean holds more different species. A research found out that approximately 898 different species live in an area about half as big as a tennis court. Still, there is much research and exploration to do because deep sea researches have been done rarely.
Nemo gives new meaning to the term “in the middle of nowhere.”
Nemo is the most remote point in the ocean. It is an affectionate name given to the point in the whole ocean farthest away from any land. Point Nemo is 2,688 miles away from the nearest land, Pitcairn Islands in the Antarctic.
It takes around 1000 years for water to travel around the whole world
Being constantly affected by water salinity, temperature, gravity, even the moon’s gravity, wind, and tectonic activity, oceans current are very complex. Details of how ocean currents really work are still unknown.
Tuna, cod, marlin, etc. population are down 90%
Due to overfishing and unwillingness to give up on our favorite fish led to a decline of 90% of their population. Studies are being done to help estimate the cost of human consumption of fish population. There might come a time that tuna, cod, and marlin may become endangered species.
The Ocean produces half of the oxygen we breathe
Krill are single-celled creatures that are famous as the diet of the largest animals in the ocean. But unknown to many, these creatures rely on photosynthesis to live. They take in carbon dioxide from the ocean water. They use carbon and expel oxygen in to the air. So, breathing the fresh ocean air is very healthy because it is very high on oxygen.
Sea level? The ocean’s surface isn’t always at sea level
The ocean may look flat to us but deep down, the ocean floor is full of hills, dips and mountain ranges. Though from eye view the ocean surface may look flat, it actually has valley and plateaus similar to land.
You are a better swimmer on the Italian Coast than on the California coast
It is known that the saltier the water is, the easier it is for us to float. The Mediterranean ocean is saltier than any other ocean in the world such as the sea on the California coast. So, a swimmer will float easier off the Italian Coast than a swimmer on the California coast.
Did you know that the Mediterranean Sea used to be land?
One point in history, large tectonic shifts lifted the straits of Gibraltar far above sea level. As the straights slowly dropped, the waters of the Atlantic came pouring over them and slowly filling up the huge Mediterranean basin. The process would have created the most stunning waterfalls in earth’s history.
We still don’t know most species of marine life
So far, the data and studies man has collected only accounts for only 20% of the volume of water in the world’s oceans. Due to the difficulty in studying the depths of the oceans, only about 250,000 different species have been discovered according to the Census of Marine Life. Marine scientists believe that there are still over a million different species swimming in the waters waiting to be discovered.
Oceans are changing sizes
According to scientists, the Atlantic is getting bigger while the Pacific is getting smaller. The Atlantic Ocean is growing by 5 centimeters a year.
There is so much left to be uncovered from the secrets of our oceans. From small microbes to large creatures, the oceans have closely guarded its secrets. With advancement of technology and invention of new instruments, man may be able to discover a whole new world in the oceans in the near future.