14 Fascinating Facts About the World’s Oceans and Seas

The ocean is a mystery that scientists have worked hard to unravel but barely scrapes the surface, even to this day. Our planet comprises 70% water, and the ocean remains unexplored.

There’s a lot under the sea that we don’t know compared to what we know about outer space.

1. The Ocean Contains Gold

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Every drop of ocean water has a small percentage of gold diluted in it. The gold concentration is super diluted, making up only a few parts of ocean water per trillion.

Additionally, the ocean floor is said to contain some undissolved gold. Sadly, mining it effectively would require too many resources and costs. 

2. There Are Rivers and Lakes in the Ocean

Cenote Angelita Underwater River Mexico, 22km. to the south of Tulum
Image Credit: Anatoly Beloshchin.

It may seem odd that rivers, lakes, and bodies of water exist underwater, but it’s scientifically proven.

It happens as seawater passes through layers of salt beneath the seafloor and seeps upwards. It dissolves the salt layer and causes it to collapse, forming depressions. This dissolved salt makes the water denser, allowing it to settle into the depression, forming rivers or lakes.

3. The Tallest Waterfall in The World is Underwater

Image Credit: Føroya landsstýri.

The Denmark Strait Cataract is the tallest and biggest underwater waterfall between Greenland and Iceland. It is formed by a temperature difference between the water on either side of the strait.

The drop is about 11,500 feet with a flow rate of 123 million cubic feet per second — about 500,000 times more than Niagara Falls.

4. There’s An Underwater Mountain Taller Than Mount Everest

Image Credit: Alan L – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth. Even so, Mauna Kea in Hawaii is a mountain that’s partially underwater and would be easily taller than Everest if it was completely on land.

From top to bottom, this mountain is about 33,500 feet. That’s nearly a whole mile taller than Everest.

5. Point Nemo is Closer to Space Than Anywhere on Earth

Image Credit: The Ocean Race.

Interestingly, Point Nemo is the closest location to space from Earth. This tiny, remote island in the South Pacific is 1,000 miles from any other point of land.

The distance from the International Space Station to Point Nemo is about 250 miles, making Point Nemo a rarity. It’s also challenging to get to Point Nemo due to its distance from other islands or land.

6. The Bottom of The Ocean is Noisy

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Contrary to what most might think, the bottom of the ocean is far from the quiet, eerie place we all picture. Researchers have found that it’s pretty noisy down there.

Every time they listened to the ocean floor, they heard some noise. The noise included moaning whales, faraway earthquakes, and even wave typhoons.

7. About 80% of Life on Earth is Aquatic

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The Earth is 70% water, so it stands to reason that 80% of life on Earth is aquatic. Still, most of that marine life has yet to be uncovered or discovered.

This is partly due to the harshness of the ocean and its depth. We just don’t have the proper tools or technology.

8. The Hottest Water is at The Bottom of the Ocean

Hydrothermal Vents Pacific Ocean,
Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The bottom of the ocean is often depicted as a dark and cold place, so it may be a surprise that some of the hottest water is also found there. This is because of the hydrothermal vents that heat the water to a scalding 750 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even in these extreme conditions, scientists have found living organisms thriving at the bottom of the ocean, which leads them to do more research.

9. Earth’s Longest Mountain Chain is Underwater

Þingvellir National Park, sub-aerial part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Image Credit: Rob Young – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

This mountain chain, also known as the Mid-Ocean Ridge, is a chain of underwater volcanoes that stretch across the Earth. It spans 40,389 miles, 10 times longer than the Andes Mountain Range we can see on land.

It winds and snakes across various countries and continents underwater, invisible to us above.

10. The World’s Largest Living Structure is in the Ocean

Flynn Reef, Great Barrier Reef, near Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Image Credit: Toby Hudson, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. That massive coral reef structure is alive and breathing. Naturally, it’s home to many organisms and complex ecological communities.

However, the reef is threatened by global warming, which brings warmer waters that kill off the coral species.

11. There’s an Ice Sheet Bigger Than the U.S.

Lake Fryxell, in the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica
Image Credit: Joe Mastroianni/Wiki Commons.

Ice sheets are remnants of the Earth’s Ice Age. Even so, due to the planet’s increase in temperature, only two ice sheets currently remain intact.

The biggest ice sheet is the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which measures about 5.4 million square miles — larger than the entire United States. The other ice sheet is in Greenland and is about 656,000 square miles, roughly three times the size of Texas.

12. Corals Produce Their Own Special “Sunscreen”

Image Credit: Albert Kok/Wiki Commons.

Corals are very sensitive to the sun, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ve evolved to produce their version of sunscreen.

Too much sunlight could damage the algae that live in corals. Hence, as a form of protection, corals fluoresce and create a sort of protein to protect themselves and their algae.

13. The Biggest Ocean Waves Are Beneath the Surface

Image Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Own Work – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Oceanographers have found that waves occur on the ocean’s surface and underneath. These waves are often more massive than the ones on the surface.

The waves are internal waves and occur between two fluids with different densities. These waves travel for miles and can rise to over 600 feet underwater.

14. A Millimeter of Ocean Water Holds Millions of Viruses

Porto Covo, Portugal
Image Credit: Alvesgaspar, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

A single millimeter of ocean water can hold up to 10 million viruses, which affect marine life’s bacterial cells and phytoplankton.

A large-scale viral infection in the aquatic ecosystem could have drastic effects. The infected phytoplankton could release toxins, which would, in turn, start a water crisis among humans. 

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