As we wrap up this summer of reading and Oceans of Possibilities, we can’t forget to appreciate the wonders of our planet’s oceans. We’ve talked about ocean creatures already, but what about the ocean itself?
Did you know that our oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth? And 97% of all water that is on Earth is ocean! That includes all lakes, ponds, and other fresh water resources. Think about how big Beaver Lake is. How big must the oceans be for them to be 97% of all water on Earth!
Only 5% of the ocean floor has been explored and mapped in detail. We know just about every inch of the Earth’s land masses, but the ocean is still a huge mystery to us. It might as well be another planet for as well as we know it! In fact, we know other planets like Mars better than we know the floor of the ocean!
The Mariana Trench is simultaneously the deepest trench on Earth and the highest peak (albeit under water). Mt. Everest, the highest mountain outside of the water, stands at 29,032ft. The Mariana Trench reaches 36,037ft. You can find this incredible spot about 124 miles east of the Mariana Islands.
When it comes to oxygen-makers, trees usually rule the conversation. However, few know that 70% of the Earth’s oxygen is actually produced in the ocean! It’s created by microscopic creatures called diatoms. We not only make use of the oxygen that they create, but we also harvest their skeletons to make diatomaceous earth, which is used anywhere from gardening to nutrition.
For more interesting facts about our planet’s oceans, check out these books:
- The blue wonder : why the sea glows, fish sing, and other astonishing insights from the ocean by Frauke Bagusche
- The world encyclopedia of fish & shellfish & other aquatic creatures : a natural history identification guide to the diverse animal life of deep oceans, open seas, reefs, estuaries, shorelines, ponds, lakes and rivers around the globe by Derek Hall, Amy-Jane Beer and Daniel Gilpin
- Sharks : the animal answer guide by Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess