The Pacific Ocean Is Filled With Great Mysteries – But Subject To The Pressures Of Climate Change, Pollution, And Overfishing

Source: National Geographic/Sarah Gibbens

Photo: Vasiliki Volkova/Unsplash

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The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest ocean on Earth. It spans 60 million square miles from California to China, and in certain regions extends tens of thousands of feet below the surface of the water.

To get a sense of just how immense the Pacific Ocean is, you could put all of Earth’s landmasses together, and the Pacific would still be larger.

The name Pacific is a version of pacify or peaceful. It was named by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 as he sailed through a calm patch of water on the ocean. Despite its name, the Pacific is a vast body of water teeming with activity. Much of the ocean is still waiting to be explored, but human activities like industrial fishing, deep-sea mining, and fossil-fuel burning are already changing it in significant ways. The vast body of water is home to some of the most unique life forms on Earth and contains the deepest reaches known to humankind.

Here’s a look at some key features of this great ocean, as well as issues affecting it.

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Photo: Vasiliki Volkova/Unsplash

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