Amazing Ocean Facts

  Given their sheer volume, ninety-nine percent of the living space on the planet is found in the oceans. Biologists estimate that somewhere between 500,000 and 5,000,000 marine species have yet to be discovered and described.
   The Mid-Ocean Ridge stretches 46,000 miles (74,000 km), more than four times the lengths of the Andes, Rockies, and Himalayas combined.
   A slow cascade of cold water beneath the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland sinks 2.2 miles (3.5 km), over three-and-a-half times farther than the tallest waterfall on land, Venezuela's Angel Falls.
   The average depth of the oceans is 2.5 miles (4 km). The deepest point lies in the Mariana Trench, 6.8 miles (10.9 km) down. By way of comparison, Mount Everest is only 5.5 miles (8.8 km) high.
   Fishermen and women harvest over 4 million tons each year from bays and open oceans.
   El Niņo is the most unique example of oceans and atmosphere interaction that causes a chain reaction in climate across the globe. That climate has significant impact on humans, business and overall economics of various countries -- i.e. El Niņo patterns contributed to the 1995 rains in California which caused flooding and ultimately raised the price of wine and other vegetables from the region. Also, the warm 1995 winter in the Northeast had significant impact on the skiing industry.
   Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans. In 1993, scientists located the largest known concentration of active volcanoes on the sea floor in the South Pacific. This area, the size of New York state, hosts 1,133 volcanic cones and sea mounts. Two or three could erupt at any moment.
   The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. At some times of the year the difference between high and low tide is 53 feet 6 inches, the equivalent of a three-story building.
   The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth's water. Less than 1 percent is fresh water, and 2-3 percent is contained in glaciers and ice caps.
   Earth's longest mountain range is the Mid-Ocean Ridge, which winds around the globe from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic, skirting Africa, Asia and Australia, and crossing the Pacific to the west coast of North America. It is four times longer than the Andes, Rockies, and Himalayas combined.
   Canada has the longest coastline of any country, at 56,453 miles or around 15 percent of the world's 372,384 miles of coastlines


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