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Table of Contents
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 in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.
See the fact file below for more information on the Pacific Ocean or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Pacific Ocean worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Overview of the Pacific Ocean
- An ocean is a body of saltwater, and the Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest ocean in the world.
- The world’s oceans cover approximately 70.8% of the surface of Earth and contain 97% of Earth’s water.
- The Pacific Ocean covers 46% of the Earth’s water surface and separates Asia and Australia from the Americas.
- The surface area of the Pacific Ocean is 63,800,000 sq mi (165,250,000 km2).
- The average depth of the Pacific Ocean is 14,040 ft (4,280 mt).
- Asia and Australia border the Pacific Ocean to the west, with North and South America bordering it on the east.
- The equator divides the Pacific Ocean into two bodies of water. Waters north of the equator are referred to as the North Pacific, and those south of the equator are referred to as South Pacific.
- The Pacific Ocean is divided into three main physiographic regions.
- the eastern region, which extends southward from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and is relatively narrow.
- the western region runs from the Gulf of Alaska to the North Island of New Zealand and is marked by a broken line of oceanic trenches.
- the central region, which lies between the eastern and western regions.
The Pacific Ocean Throughout History
- Throughout history, several groups of people have migrated around the Pacific Ocean, dating back to 3000 BCE.
- The Pacific Islands are thought to have had people migrating through the Southeast Asian region and moving northeast into eastern Micronesia and Polynesia.
- These travelers would have had long-range voyages via canoes, which is an incredible feat considering a lack of engineering and resources.
- From there, the Maori were established about 1,000 years ago in modern-day New Zealand.
- The longest of these Polynesian voyages involved the discovery and settlement of Hawaii.
- It wasn’t until the 16th century that the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French voyages came into the picture.
- By the 18th century, exploration of the Pacific Ocean and its many tropical islands was dominated by the British and the French, predominantly John Byron, Samuel Wallis, Philip Carteret, and James Cook, all of whom discovered and settled islands such as Tahiti, Pitcairn Island, Samoa, New Guinea, amongst others.
- The height of European exploration of the Pacific involved Captain James Cook during the second half of the 1700s.
- Cook was very thorough and accurate in his maps and charts of the area, so much so that they have not been changed very much since the time he first created them.
- Charles Darwin also made a few voyages through the Pacific in order to collect information about the properties of the ocean.
The Science Within the Pacific Ocean
- The Pacific Ocean was “born” 750 million years ago during the breakup of Rodinia, a supercontinent formerly named Pangaea.
- The most significant characteristic of the Pacific Ocean is its andesite line, which separates mafic basaltic volcanic rocks from the felsic andesitic volcanic rock.
- Different rocks make up the ocean bed and include
- Mafic is an igneous rock that is rich in magnesium and iron.
- Basaltic is an igneous rock formed by the rapid cooling of lava.
- Felsic is an igneous rock that is rich in feldspar and quartz.
- Volcanic rock coming from a volcano.
Climate and Tides
- Since the Pacific Ocean covers both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, it is exposed to different weather patterns depending on the region.
- For example, the trade winds in the southern and eastern parts of the Pacific act as the steering flow for tropical storms that make landfall in places like Southeast Asia, eastern Africa, and North America.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the conditions are far more varied due to colder temperatures off the east coast of Russia, mixed with milder weather patterns that occur in places like British Columbia in Canada.
- In the tropical parts of the Pacific, El Nino (the name used to describe variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean) affects weather conditions there.
- Tides of the Pacific Ocean vary incredibly. In some regions, the tides are diurnal (daily); in other regions, they are semi-diurnal (twice daily); and in other regions, there are mixed tides.
- The tidal waves within the Pacific Ocean regions also vary from small to enormous. In Tahiti, the tide is only about 1 ft (0.3 mt), at Cape Horn, it is around 6 feet (1.8 mt), whereas, in Australia, it can be up to 33 feet (1.8 to 10 mt), creating super surfing waves.
The Water of the Pacific Ocean
- The salinity of the water in the Pacific depends on three factors, winds, precipitation, and evaporation.
- Generally, there is high salinity when there are more than 35 parts per thousand.
- The lowest salinity levels are located in the northernmost parts of the ocean, and the highest salinity levels are seen in the southeast, where the parts per thousand are 3.7 percent or higher.
- When there is more rainfall, the salinity decreases, and when evaporation occurs, that increases the salt concentration in the water.
- The Pacific Ocean’s temperatures average between 30 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 – 30 degrees C).
Crazy But True Facts about the Pacific Ocean
- If you put the entire land surface of the Earth together, the Pacific Ocean would still be bigger.
- Its greatest longitudinal extent (the distance it covers according to the lines of longitude) measures about 12,000 miles (19,312 km) between Colombia in South America and the Malay Peninsula in Asia.
- The Pacific Ocean got its name from the word “pacific”, meaning calm.
- There is a place within the Pacific Ocean called the Mariana Trench, and it is the lowest part of the Earth.
- Almost 75% of the world’s volcanoes are located in the Pacific Ocean basin.
- The Pacific Ocean holds the most islands of all the oceans, more than 25,000 of them!
Did You Know
- The scientific study of the oceans is Oceanography.
- An oceanographer is a person who studies the geology, chemistry, and biology of oceans.
- The Pacific Ocean has more than 220,000 species of fish in all shapes, sizes, and colors swimming in it.
- The biological richness of certain regions of the Pacific and the large human populations in the many countries bordering it, means fish are caught in huge numbers, millions and millions.
- There are over 50,000 different species of plants in the Pacific Ocean, including kelp, seagrass, sargassum, phytoplankton, and red algae. The many different species of seagrass that grow throughout the Pacific Ocean support entire ecosystems.
Pacific Ocean Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Pacific Ocean across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pacific Ocean worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Pacific Ocean, which is the largest and deepest of Earth’s oceanic divisions. 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.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
- Profile of an Explorer
- The Mariana Trench
- True or False?
- Animal Profile
- Pacific Ocean Wordsearch
- Ring of Fire Quest
- Postcard from a Boat
- Pacific Ocean Crossword
- Problems with Plastic
Frequently Asked Questions
What fish are found in the Pacific Ocean?
The enormous Pacific ocean has waters that are both warm and cold, so the variety of fish is huge, from small mollusks like clams and oysters to seals and walruses to huge dolphins and whales.
What is in the Pacific Ocean besides fish?
The massive Pacific ocean is home to lots of different things. Besides the wide varieties of fish and plants, there are thousands of islands, atolls, coral islands surrounded by lagoons and volcanoes, just to name a few.
Is it cold at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean?
Water is warmer on the surface and gets colder with depth. The temperature at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is just above freezing, around 38.3 °F (3.5 °C).
Are there sharks in the Pacific ocean?
There are over 30 species of sharks inhabiting the vast Pacific Ocean. The whale shark, which is the largest fish in the world, is found in the Pacific Ocean, the white shark lives in waters off the Pacific coast of Mexico, and in the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, you will find leopard sharks, reef sharks, and lemon sharks.
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Link will appear as Pacific Ocean Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 14, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.