The Pacific Ocean: The Largest Ocean Basin on Earth
Located between Asia, the Southern Ocean, Australia and the Americas, the Pacific Ocean covers approximately 59 million square miles (approximately 28% of the global surface) and contains more than half of the Earth’s open water supply. The Pacific is the oldest of the existing ocean basins and by far the largest. All of the world’s continents could fit into the Pacific basin.
The Pacific is not only the biggest but also the deepest ocean with the deepest trenches. The average depth is about 3,800 m. Located to the West of the Philippines and north of New Guinea, the Marina Trench is the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 10,920m/35,827ft. It is the lowest part of the earth’s crust and was formed by the collision of two tectonic plates.
The Pacific Ocean is surrounded by the Pacific Ring of Fire. 75% of the volcanoes on earth are located in the Pacific Ocean basin. In a 25,000 mile horseshoe shape, The Ring of Fire is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and plate movements. The ring has over 452 volcanoes.
The Pacific Ocean contains around 25000 different islands. It is also a major contributor to the world economy. It provides low-cost sea transportation between East and West, extensive fishing grounds, offshore oil and gas fields, minerals, and sand and gravel for the construction industry.