Fun facts about the ocean for World Oceans Day

The Earth's oceans are massive in scope, important to life on Earth and a major influencer in the world's weather and climate. In recognition of World Oceans Day, here is some ocean trivia.

Question 1: What is the deepest ocean?

Answer: The world's deepest ocean is also its largest ocean, the mighty Pacific. South of Guam and to the east of the Philippines is where you would find the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the Pacific Ocean. It plunges an astonishing 35,000 feet deep - which equates to more than 6.5 miles!

Question 2: About how much of the world's oceans are unexplored?

Answer: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 80% of our globe's oceans are considered to be unexplored. That's a pretty incredible figure considering our oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface! One way to explore the oceans is using sonar technology, but NOAA says less than 10% of our globe's oceans have been mapped this way at least just yet.

Question 3: How old do scientists think Greenland Sharks can live to be?

Answer: Sharks are important to ocean ecosystems. As an apex predator, they are at the top of the food chain and keep delicate ecosystems in balance. Without them, things can quickly fall out of balance, making sharks important bellwethers of how healthy an ocean is. Though it may sound impossible, scientists believe they now have a good idea of how long the Greenland Shark can live to be, a whopping 250 years old, or more!

What makes scientists think this? The unique qualities of the Greenland Shark making it very different from other sharks seem to hold the key. This species of shark poses a special protein in its eye that scientists have carbon-dated (similar to how they figure out the age of dinosaur fossils). This combined with the previously-known fact that it only grows about a centimeter a year point to it being an old, (very old) animal slowly swimming around the frigid waters of the north Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Question 4: How much of Earth's water supply is held by the oceans?

Answer: The oceans are big, and have the water to prove it. According to the United States Geological Survey, the oceans hold an incredible 96.5% of Earth's water supply. This dwarfs the next biggest water holder of ice caps, glaciers and permanent snow holding 1.74% of the planet's water!

The USGS has a category-by-category percentage breakdown of where Earth's water is stored here.

Question 5: Which product uses red algae extracts from the ocean?

Answer: Peanut butter, toothpaste, yogurt and makeup are just a few of the products using a compound called carrageenan which comes from boiled red algae! The compound makes things with a texture like peanut butter smooth enough that it can be spreadable. Sound surprising? Keep in mind that even though Red Tide and Blue Green Algae that you hear about in the news all of the time have big downsides, not all algae is bad.

Skeptical about algae being good? Keep in mind that some algae are a major source of food for fish, and it helps the process of photosynthesis in the oceans.

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