World Ocean Map

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World Ocean Map

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This map shows the location of all the oceans and other major water bodies.

Oceans play an integral role in many of the Earth's systems. The ocean supports the life of nearly half of all species on Earth, providing 20 percent of the animal protein and five percent of the total protein in the human diet.

Though there generally are considered to be four different oceans, there are no physical divisions separating them, thus the water flowing through them is the same. The five major oceans on Earth are the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, and the Southern Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean, the Earth's largest ocean, flows to the west of the Americas and along the eastern edge of Asia. The Pacific Ocean is sometimes divided into the North Pacific and the South Pacific. The Atlantic Ocean is between the Americas and Europe and Africa, and like the Pacific, the Atlantic is also sometimes divided into the North and South Atlantic.

The Indian Ocean is situated below the Indian subcontinent, to the east of Africa and the west of Australia and the islands like Malaysia and Indonesia. The Arctic Ocean is around the north pole, and is the shallowest ocean of all - sometimes considered a sea rather than an ocean. The Arctic is encompassed primarily by North America and Russia, and its waters are partially covered by ice year-round. The International Hydrographic Organization designated the waters surrounding Antarctica to be the Southern Ocean in the year 2000, extending to the latitude of 60 degrees.

The oceans of Earth serve many functions, playing an integral role in the Earth's weather and temperature. Oceans moderate the Earth's temperature by absorbing incoming solar radiation. The continuously moving ocean currents distribute the heat energy around the globe, heating the land and air during winter cooling it during summer.

OceanAreaAverage DepthDeepest Point
Pacific64,186,000 square miles15,315 feetMariana Trench (36,200 feet below sea level)
Atlantic33,420,000 square miles12,881 feetPuerto Rico Trench (28,231 feet below sea level)
Indian28,350,000 square miles13,002 feetJava Trench (25,344 feet below sea level)
Southern7,848,300 square miles13,100-16,400 feetSouth Sandwich Trench (23,736 feet below sea level)
Arctic5,106,000 square miles3,953 feetEurasia Basin (17,881 feet below sea level)

Ocean Facts
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the four main oceans
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the busiest ocean. Many ships cross the Atlantic, carrying cargo between the Americas, Africa, and Europe
  • The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and coldest ocean
  • The average temperature of all oceans is about 39 degrees F (3.8 degrees C)
  • Oceans are always moving
  • Tides change twice a day all over the world, as the oceans rise and fall along the shoreline. Scientists think this is caused by the pull of the sun and moon on our Earth, and the Earth's rotation.
  • Coral reefs are vast, rocky areas located in shallow, tropical waters. Coral reefs are like the tropical rain forest of the ocean in that the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the ocean live there. Coral reefs are formed from the bodies of small sea creatures called polyps
  • The world's oceans contain nearly 20 million tons of gold

Major Water Bodies

Top ten longest rivers
Nile (Africa)6,693 km
Amazon (South America) 6,436 km
Mississippi-Missouri (North America)6,238 km
Yenisey-Angara (Asia) 5,981 km
Ob-Irtysh (Asia)5,569 km
Yangtze (Asia)5,525 km
Yellow (Asia) 4,671 km
Amur (Asia) 4,352 km
Lena (Asia)4,345 km
Congo (Africa)4,344 km

Top ten largest natural lakes (by surface area)

Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan)372,960 sq km
Lake Superior (Canada, United States)82,414 sq km
Lake Victoria (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda)69,490 sq km
Lake Huron (Canada, United States)59,596 sq km
Lake Michigan (United States)57,441 sq km
Lake Tanganyika (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia)32,890 sq km
Great Bear Lake (Canada) 31,800 sq km
Lake Baikal (Russia)31,494 sq km
Lake Nyasa (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania)30,044 sq km
Great Slave Lake (Canada) 28,400 sq km

Based on drainage area

RankNameDrainage area (1000 km2)
1Amazon6 915
2Congo3 680
3Murray3 520
4La Plata3 100
5Ob2 990
6Mississippi*2 980
7Nile2 870
8Yenisei2 580
9Lena2 490
10Niger2 090
11Amur1 855
12Yangtze1 800
13Mackenzie*1 790
14Ganges1 730
15Volga1 380
16Zambezi1 330
17St. Lawrence*1 030
Note :This table ranks the world's largest rivers by length in kilometers.

Based on length

RankNameLength (km)
1Nile6 670
2Mississippi*6 420
3Amazon6 280
4Yangtze5 520
5La Plata4 700
6Hwang Ho4 670
7Mekong4 500
8Lena4 400
9Congo4 370
11Niger4 160
12Ob3 650
13aYenisei3 490
13bMurray3 490
14Volga3 350
15Indus3 180
16St. Lawrence*3 060
17aGanges3 000
17bYukon*3 000
Note: This table ranks the world's largest rivers by average annual total discharge in kilometers cubed per year.

Based on average annual total discharge

RankNameAverage annual total discharge (km3/year)
1Amazon6 923
2Ganges1 386
3Congo1 320
4Orinoco1 007
5Yangtze1 006
6La Plata811
15St. Lawrence*318
Source: Adapted from World Water Resources and Their Uses, Joint SHI/UNESCO Product, prepared by Prof. Igor A. Shiklomanov, 1999.

Last Updated on: May 12, 2017

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