Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean
Map of the Pacific Ocean
Coordinates0°N 160°W / 0°N 160°W / 0; -160
Surface area165,250,000 km2 (63,800,000 sq mi)
Average depth4,280 m (14,040 ft)
Max. depth10,911 m (35,797 ft)
Water volume710,000,000 km3 (170,000,000 cu mi)
IslandsList of islands
SettlementsAnchorage, Auckland, Brisbane, Busan, Guayaquil, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Lima, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Osaka, Panama City, Papeete, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, Suva, Sydney, Tijuana, Tokyo, Valparaíso, Vancouver, Vladivostok

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

At 165,250,000 square kilometers (63,800,000 square miles) in area (as defined with an Antarctic southern border), this largest division of the World Ocean—and, in turn, the hydrosphere—covers about 46% of Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of Earth's land area combined.[1] The centers of both the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean. The equator subdivides it into the North(ern) Pacific Ocean and South(ern) Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific.[2]

Its mean depth is 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).[3] Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, located in the western north Pacific, is the deepest point in the world, reaching a depth of 10,928 meters (35,853 feet).[4] The Pacific also contains the deepest point in the Southern Hemisphere, the Horizon Deep in the Tonga Trench, at 10,823 meters (35,509 feet).[5] The third deepest point on Earth, the Sirena Deep, is also located in the Mariana Trench.

The western Pacific has many major marginal seas, including the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Philippine Sea, the Coral Sea, and the Tasman Sea.

Etymology

Though the peoples of Asia and Oceania have traveled 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 (in Spanish). The ocean's current name was coined by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish circumnavigation of the world in 1521, as he encountered favorable winds on reaching the ocean. He called it Mar Pacífico, which in both Portuguese and Spanish means "peaceful sea".[6]