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Facts About the Oceans

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[Atlantic Ocean and the iceberg that sunk the Titanic]The iceberg that sunk the Titanic.

The Titanic is the only ocean liner ever sunk by an iceberg.

View more facts about: Titanic | Transportation
The first aeroplane to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean
The first aeroplane to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.

Charles Lindbergh was not the first person to fly across the Atlantic nonstop; he was just the first to do it alone. The first nonstop flight across the Atlantic occurred on June 14–15, 1919, when Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten-Brown co-piloted a Vickers-Vimy twin-engine plane from Newfoundland to Galway, Ireland. (source)

View more facts about: Misconceptions | Flight

If a glass of water were emptied into the ocean, and one were to wait long enough to ensure that the water was thoroughly mixed and distributed throughout the world's oceans, then each glass of water taken from the ocean would contain around 250 molecules from the original glass of water.

In 1896, two men rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. George Harbo and Frank Samuelson set off from New York in an open boat, and rowed across the ocean, taking turns rowing, until they reached Great Britain's Scilly Isles 55 days later. In case you're curious, they took canned meat, 250 eggs, 100 pounds of sea biscuits, nine pounds of coffee, two tanks of fresh water, a small stove, and five gallons of kerosene. (source)

The first Greek to observe ocean tides, in the Atlantic in the early third century B.C., was the navigator and astronomer Pytheas, who also produced the correct explanation for them. He was 2,000 years ahead of his time; Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to correctly attribute them to the influence of the moon. Before Newton's time, most scholars refused to believe that the moon could have any effect on the ocean, especially because one tide each day took place when the moon was not even visible in the sky. (source)

The deepest place on Earth is Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean. The trench is 35,899 feet below sea level, which is over a mile deeper than Mount Everest is high. Even still, this is not the portion of the sea floor closest to the Earth's core; as the Earth is not a perfect sphere, portions of the Arctic Ocean are closer to the core. (source)

In 1942–1943, Poon Lim survived on a raft floating on the Atlantic Ocean for 133 days. The ship he was on, the SS Ben Lomond, was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean near the Equator and around 300 miles off the coast of Brazil on November 23, 1942. He escaped on a raft and survived by catching fish and anything else that he stumbled upon and drank rainwater. He was rescued off Salinópolis, Brazil on April 5, 1943. He was awarded the British Empire Medal and the U.S. Congress voted him American citizenship. (source)

There are around 25,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, most of which are found south of the Equator. (source)

The first European to see the eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean was Vasco Núñez de Balboa, on September 25th, 1513.

View more facts about: Exploration

The oldest individual animal with a known age was a specimen of ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) that was discovered in 2006. It was determined to be 507 years old. (source)

View more facts about: Animals

The point on Earth furthest from any ocean lies around 2,500 kilometres away from the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Ob, close to the border of China and Kazakhstan near the Dzungarian Gate.

Columbus visited England in 1477 and Iceland in the 1480s. Possibly during these visits he heard that lands lay far to the west, across the Atlantic Ocean. (source)

View more facts about: Exploration

There is an organism, a member of the domain Archaea, that lives in surroundings of 121°C. Its habitat is within hot springs at the bottom of the ocean, where water up to 300°C emerges, mixing with 4°C seawater. (source)

View more facts about: The Microscopic World

A trans-Atlantic fibre optic cable was laid under the Atlantic Ocean in 1989.

The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was safely de-orbited and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on June 4, 2000. Any pieces that survived landed in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean. (source)

Phytoplankton are tiny little plants that drift with the currents throughout the ocean. A teaspoon of sea water can contain as many as a million one-celled phytoplankton. (source)

View more facts about: The Microscopic World

The eruption of the volcanic island of Krakatoa, in 1883, was so violent that it was heard 4,600 kilometres away, on Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean.

View more facts about: Planet Earth

On July 4, 1776, King George III wrote in his diary entry, "Nothing important happened today." Before the age of instantaneous communication, he had no way of knowing what was happening in the American colonies across the ocean. (source)

View more facts about: Holidays and Observances

The "sh" sound, as in the word "ship", can be represented by eight different combinations of letters in English, as in the words ship, suspicious, ocean, anxious, sure, conscience, notion, and issue.

View more facts about: English Words

The Eastern side of the Panama Canal connects to the Atlantic Ocean and the Western side of the canal to the Pacific, not the other way around. (source)

View more facts about: Geography | Misconceptions

The Atacama desert, along the Pacific Ocean in Chile, is the driest place on Earth. Prior to a freak storm in 1971, no significant amount of rain had fallen on the desert in 400 years. There are still some weather stations in the desert that have never recorded rain. (source)

View more facts about: Geography

Without modern technology, the Polynesians located almost all of the small islands spread over the 14 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, and colonized them all. They had colonized most of modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia by 1500 B.C., Fiji and Tonga by 1200 B.C., Hawaii, Easter Island, and Madagascar by 500 A.D., and New Zealand by 1000 A.D. (source)

View more facts about: Exploration

Venus, not Earth, is the best-mapped planet in the solar system, with 98% of its surface mapped. On the other hand, large portions of the Earth's ocean floor have not been mapped.

View more facts about: Planet Earth | Solar System

The point on the Earth's surface most distant from land lies in the South Pacific Ocean at latitude 48°53.6' south, longitude 123°23.6' west. The closest land masses, Ducie Island in the Pitcairn Islands, Motu Nui in the Easter Islands, and Maher Island in Antarctica, are 1,670 miles away.

Perhaps the most famous extinct animal is the dodo, giving rise to the phrase "dead as a dodo". It was a peculiar-looking flightless bird that looked a bit like a duck with a large, hooked bill. It lived in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. However, its inability to fly, its lack of fear for humans and its good taste caused it to be hunted to extinction in the 17th century. (source)

Meriweather Lewis and William Clark were not the first European explorers to travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The first was Vasco Nùñez, who crossed the narrow isthmus of Central America in 1513. Lewis and Clark were not the first Europeans to cross North America either. In 1793, the Scotsman Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean via Canada.

View more facts about: Exploration

In 1928, the German engineer Herman Sörgel proposed increasing the land mass of Europe and Africa by draining the Mediterranean Sea. By building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar, the current from the Atlantic Ocean would be blocked and the water level of the Mediterranean would drop by about 1 metre per year. After 100 years, the water levels would be so low that there would be 223,000 km² of reclaimed land. Naturally, this proposal never got off the drawing board.

View more facts about: Planet Earth

In the third century B.C., Pytheas, a Greek geographer and explorer, sailed along the Atlantic coast of Europe, explored Great Britain, sailed north to "Ultima Thule" (Norway) and traversed the Baltic Sea as far as the Vistula. His work On the Ocean, while it has not survived, was the earliest first-hand information written about northwestern Europe. (source)

It is not true that there are no tides in inland bodies of water such as the Great Lakes. The same forces that produce ocean tides produce tides in all bodies of water, but in smaller bodies of water the tides are so slight that any changes are obscured by differences in water level resulting from other factors such as precipitation, discharge from rivers, atmospheric pressure and winds. For example, the tide at Lake Michigan rises and falls only a few inches. (source)

View more facts about: Misconceptions

The Navigatio Santi Brendani Abatis, a ninth century manuscript, describes the many adventures of St. Brendan the Navigator, who supposedly undertook a seven-year voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, eventually reaching what might possibly have been Newfoundland. In 1976–77, Tim Severin, a British scholar, crossed the Atlantic on a boat constructed based on the details described by Brendan, demonstrating the feasibility of such a voyage. (source)

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