The Indian Ocean is the youngest of the five major oceans in the world and is third largest among them. Earlier known as “Eastern Ocean” or “Eastern Star,” it was named after India. Here are some amazing facts about the Indian Ocean to boost your IQ level.
Fact 1: The Area
The Indian Ocean covers an area of 73,440,000 square kilometers and is bounded by Asia on the north, Africa on the west, Australia on the east and Southern ocean on the south. It has a width of 7600 km from Africa to Australia. The ocean occupies around one-fifth of the world’s surface area.
Fact 2: The Deepest Point
The deepest point of the Indian Ocean is the Sunda Trench (also known as Java Trench) located near the southern part of Java, Indonesia. The maximum depth of the ocean there is 25,344 ft.
Fact 3: Spreading Ocean
Owing to the melting polar caps, the Indian Ocean widens by 20 cm every year. The vastness of the ocean contributes to the water load of the world immensely. Its approximate volume is 292,131,000 cubic kilometers.
Fact 4: The Temperature
It is the warmest among all the oceans in the world. Due to its tropical positioning, the rate of warming of the Indian Ocean is very fast, which has further exacerbated by climate change and greenhouse warming. As a result of the high evaporation rate, the ocean water has the lowest oxygen content in the world.
Fact 5: The Chemical Properties of Water
The water in the Indian Ocean has a high concentration of hydrocarbons, both in dissolved and floating forms. It also has maximum negative water balance, and both the world’s highest and lowest water salinity levels have been found in the Indian Ocean.
Fact 6: Underwater Mountain Range
There is an underwater mountain range named the Ninety East Ridge in the Indian Ocean which divides the eastern and western regions of the Indian Ocean. The name of the mountain range is thus because it is located at the center of the Eastern Hemisphere, along with the 90th meridian.
Fact 7: The Trenches
The ocean has the fewest number of trenches. But it has the world’s second-largest trench which is known as the Java Trench spreading from Sumatra to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Fact 8: The Seamounts
The Indian Ocean is full of seamounts, which are extinct submarine volcanoes. They are mostly located near Seychelles and Reunion in the Central Indian Basin.
Fact 9: The Origin
Scientists have discovered that the origin of the Indian Ocean is most complicated compared to the three largest world oceans. The Indian Ocean was formed during the disintegration and subsequent collision of the ancient southern supercontinents Gondwanaland and Eurasia. They also believe that the ocean was formed around 36 million years ago.
Fact 10: A Debate over the Boundary
Geographers and scientists debate over the southern boundary of the ocean. Some opine that the Indian Ocean stretches southward to the coast of Antarctica while others, mostly Australians, are of the view that the water near Antarctica is part of the Antarctic Ocean.
Fact 11: A Great Connector
The Indian Ocean connects four continents, namely Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. Moreover, it joins 18 countries in Asia, 16 in Africa, and more than 57 island groups.
Fact 12: The Lost Continent
In recent years, scientists have located remnants of a lost continent in the Indian Ocean. They have named the undiscovered landmass “Mauritia.”
Fact 13: River Runoff
The Indian Ocean receives huge river runoffs, approximately 6000 km, from large rivers like the Ganges and Brahmaputra.
Fact 14: Large Igneous Province (LIP)
Kerguelen Plateau is a large igneous province situated in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. It is considered the largest plateau of this kind in the world.
Fact 15: Abundance of Natural Resources
The Indian Ocean is a massive source of oil. The world gets forty percent of its oil supply from the depths of the Indian Ocean.
Fact 16: Less Varied Marine Life
The warm water of the ocean makes it non-conducive for diverse marine life as compared to other oceans. The low oxygen content of the ocean water also prevents the existence of a variety of marine creatures. As a result of these two unique features of the ocean, water phytoplankton cannot grow properly, which further restricts the growth of the marine population in the Indian Ocean.
However, despite its adverse environment, the ocean is the largest breeding ground for the majestic Humpback Whales. Interestingly, in the western part of the Indian Ocean, a huge concentration of phytoplankton can be found because of the yearly monsoon winds, which come especially around summer.
Fact 17: Well-Defined Coastal Configurations
The coastal configurations are very well defined for the Indian Ocean. It has a large number of beautiful beaches, dunes, lagoons, coral reefs, cliffs, barrier island complexes, mangrove swamps, estuaries, and salt marshes.
Fact 18: The Harbors
The Indian Ocean has been the trade route for countries from time immemorial. It has some of the world’s most significant and historical ports located in different continents. Some of them are Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai in India, Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa, Jakarta in Indonesia, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Melbourne in Australia.
Fact 19: A Site of Many Basins
Because of the highly complex ridge topography of the Indian Ocean, it has become a place for many basins whose size varies from as small as 200 miles to as large as 5600 miles.
Fact 20: Fewest Marginal Seas
The Indian Ocean has a very smaller number of marginal seas as compared to other major oceans. The prominent ones include the Arabian Sea, the Great Australian Bight, the Red Sea, the Andaman Sea, and the Persian Gulf.
Fact 21: High Level of Pollution
High level of economic activities, including oil exploration, causes significant pollution of the Indian Ocean every year. Moreover, oil spills and ship movements add to the pollution level. The most pollution prone area of the Indian Ocean is the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.
Fact 22: Natural Calamity
In 2004, the Indian Ocean witnessed a devastating tsunami, which was an outcome of the Indian tectonic plate moving below the Burmese plate and creating a vertical crack of about 20 meters. This led to a massive earthquake of magnitude 9.3 and the displacement of an enormous quantity of seawater flooding the islands of South Asia. The event took 200,000 lives and left 1 million homeless.
Fact 23: The Garbage Patch
The garbage patch in the Indian Ocean was discovered in 2010. It is known as the Indian Ocean Garbage Patch, and it spans over 5 million square kilometers. This patch is a plastic garbage vortex that circulates from Australia to Africa via the Mozambique Channel and then returns to Australia in six years. The vortex rides the Indian Ocean Gyre. Some fragments get stuck at the center of the Gyre and never travel.
Fact 24: The Ocean Current
The Indian Ocean currents are predominantly controlled by the monsoon winds and the landmass. The currents in the northern Indian Ocean alter their direction of flow twice a year because of north-east and south-west monsoon winds. The Indian Ocean Gyre is a large system of rotating ocean current which consists of two major currents, namely the South Equatorial Current, and the West Australian Current.
Fact 25: Mineral-Rich Beaches
The beaches of the Indian Ocean in countries like Thailand are filled with minerals which they exploit for internal use.