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  • Imagine yourself standing on a beach,

  • looking out over the ocean,

  • waves crashing against the shore,

  • blue as far as your eyes can see.

  • Let it really sink in,

  • the sheer scope and size of it all.

  • Now, ask yourself,

  • "How big is it?

  • How big is the ocean?"

  • First thing, we need to understand

  • that there really is only one ocean,

  • consisting of five component basins that we call

  • the Pacific,

  • the Atlantic,

  • the Indian,

  • the Arctic,

  • and the Southern.

  • Each of these five,

  • while generally referred to as oceans

  • in and of themselves,

  • are really and truly a part of

  • a single, massive body of water,

  • one ocean,

  • which defines the very face of planet Earth.

  • The ocean covers roughly 71% of our planet's surface,

  • some 360 million square kilometers,

  • an area in excess of the size of 36 U.S.A.'s.

  • It's such a vast spread,

  • when viewed from space,

  • the ocean is, by far, the dominant feature of our planet.

  • Speaking of space,

  • the ocean currently holds over 1.3 billion,

  • that's billion with a "b",

  • cubic kilometers of water.

  • Put another way,

  • that's enough water to immerse

  • the entire United States

  • under a body of salt water

  • over 132 kilometers tall,

  • a height well beyond the reach of the highest clouds

  • and extending deep into the upper atmosphere.

  • With all that volume,

  • the ocean represents 97%

  • of Earth's total water content.

  • On top of all that,

  • the ocean contains upwards of 99%

  • of the world's biosphere,

  • that is, the spaces and places where life exists.

  • Now let that sink in for a second.

  • The immediate world as we know it,

  • indeed the totality of all the living space

  • encompassed by the continents themselves,

  • all of that represents only 1% of the biosphere.

  • 1%!

  • The ocean is everything else.

  • So, the ocean is physically massive.

  • It's importance to life is practically unparalleled.

  • It also happens to hold

  • the greatest geological features of our planet.

  • Quickly, here are four of the most notable.

  • The ocean contains the world's largest mountain range,

  • the mid-ocean ridge.

  • At roughly 65,000 kilometers long,

  • this underwater range is some 10 times

  • longer than the longest mountain chain

  • found purely on dry land, the Andes.

  • Beneath the Denmark Strait exists

  • the world's largest waterfall.

  • This massive cataract carries roughly 116 times

  • more water per second over its edge

  • than the Congo River's Inga Falls,

  • the largest waterfall by volume on land.

  • The world's tallest mountain is actually found in the ocean,

  • hiding in plain sight.

  • While 4200 meters of Hawaii's Mauna Kea

  • sit above sea level,

  • its sides plummet beneath the waves

  • for another 5800 meters.

  • From its snow-covered top

  • to it's silt-covered bottom, then,

  • this Hawaiian mountain is roughly 10,000 meters in height,

  • dwarfing tiny Everest's paltry peak

  • by well over a kilometer.

  • Then, since we're picking on poor Everest,

  • let's consider the world's deepest canyon,

  • the Challenger Deep,

  • existing 11 kilometers below the ocean's surface,

  • some six times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

  • That's deep enough to sink Mount Everest into

  • and still have over 2.1 kilometers of water

  • sitting atop its newly submerged peak.

  • Put another way, the depth of the Challenger Deep

  • is roughly the same height

  • that commercial airliners travel.

  • So, pretty much however you choose to slice it,

  • the ocean is capital B

  • capital I,

  • capital G,

  • BIG!

  • It defines our planet,

  • home to the greatest geological features,

  • comprises the largest living space,

  • and accordingly, is home to the greatest numbers

  • and forms of life on Earth.

  • It is practically incomprehensible in scope.

  • But it is not so big,

  • so vast,

  • so extraordinary

  • as to be untouchable.

  • In fact, with roughly 50% of the world's population

  • living within 100 kilometers of the coastline

  • and with most of the remainder

  • living close enough to lakes, rivers, or swamps,

  • all of which ultimately lead to the ocean,

  • virtually every single person on the planet

  • has the opportunity to influence the general health

  • and nature of the world ocean.

  • Evidence of human influence is seen

  • in every part of the ocean,

  • no matter how deep,

  • no matter how distant.

  • The ocean defines our planet,

  • but, in a very real sense,

  • we define the ocean.

Imagine yourself standing on a beach,

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B1 TED-Ed ocean roughly planet water everest

【TED-Ed】How big is the ocean? - Scott Gass

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/09/25
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