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9 Facts About the Pacific Ocean

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The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to harbor life.

An ocean is a body of saline water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere.

Pacific Ocean, California by David Gair

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It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean or the Austral Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60° S latitude and encircling Antarctica.

Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres and sharing the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe.

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.

Where's the Catch? - Pacific Ocean by Journeyman Pictures

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At 165.25 million square kilometers in area, this largest division of the World Ocean—and, in turn, the hydrosphere—covers about 46% of the Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of the Earth's land area combined.

The World Ocean or global ocean is the interconnected system of Earth's oceanic waters, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering almost 72% of Earth's surface, with a total volume of 1.332 billion cubic kilometers.

The hydrosphere is the combined mass of water found on, under, and above the surface of a planet, minor planet or natural satellite.

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The equator subdivides it into the North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific.

The Equator usually refers to an imaginary line on the Earth's surface equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole, dividing the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere.

The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

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The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 metres.

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Both the center of the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean.

The Land and Water Hemispheres of Earth, sometimes capitalised as the Land Hemisphere and Water Hemisphere, are the hemispheres on Earth containing the largest possible total areas of land and ocean respectively.

The Western Hemisphere is a geographical term for the half of the earth that lies west of the Prime meridian and east of the antimeridian, the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.

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Though the peoples of Asia and Oceania have travelled the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times, the eastern Pacific was first sighted by Europeans in the early 16th century when Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and discovered the great "southern sea" which he named Mar del Sur.

The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America.

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The ocean's current name was coined by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish circumnavigation of the world in 1521, as he encountered favourable winds on reaching the ocean.

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Castilian expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano.

Circumnavigation means to travel all the way around the entire planet, or an island, or continent.

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He called it Mar PacĂ­fico, which in both Portuguese and Spanish means "peaceful sea".

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