Ten Largest Bodies of Water

The oceans and seas of the world contain most of the world's water.
The oceans and seas of the world contain most of the world's water. (Image: ocean image by Sergey Dyadechkin from Fotolia.com)

Earth is called the "blue planet" due to the sheer volume of water that covers the surface of the globe. Although seas are just areas of the larger oceans, they comprise half of the ten largest bodies of water on Earth. From the frigid Arctic to the warm water of the Indian Ocean, Earth is enormously impacted by its seas and oceans.

Pacific Ocean

Covering an area of 69,363,252 square miles at a maximum depth of 39,370 feet—just under 7 1/2 miles—the Pacific Ocean is the largest and oldest body of water in the world. Bordered by the continents of Asia, North and South America and Antarctica, the Pacific Ocean is a truly massive body of water.

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean covers 40,965,439 square miles with a maximum depth of 30,223 feet. The ocean is bordered by the continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe and Antarctica.

Indian Ocean

With an area of 28,919,051 square miles, the Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world. Cradled between Africa and the Indian subcontinent, the Indian Ocean can reach depths of 24,442 feet.

Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean covers an area of 5,108,131 square miles with a maximum depth of 17,877 feet. Encompassing the areas above the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Arctic Ocean has a clearly defined border that lies on the Arctic Circle.

South China Sea

Although the South China Sea is smaller than the Arctic Ocean, it is more than 328 feet deeper at its deepest point. The South China Sea covers an area of 1,148,499 square miles and is a marginal sea, meaning it lies between the margins of larger surrounding bodies of water.

Caribbean Sea

Located within the tropical area of the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea is bordered by the American landmass, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean Sea covers an area of 1,062,939 square miles and reaches depths of nearly 26,246 feet.

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is almost completely encompassed by land—including Eurasia and Africa—with only a small channel connecting it to the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is technically a part of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean is considered a separate body of water. The Mediterranean covers an area of 969,116 square miles and reaches depths of 16,896 feet.

Bering Sea

The Bering Sea is a body of water in the northern area of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing a deep water trench near the Aleutian Islands. The Bering Sea covers an area of 872,976 square miles and reaches a depth of 13,382 feet.

Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in the world, although it is technically considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean. Bordered by the North American continent, Cuba and Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico is a relatively shallow body of water that reaches depths of only 13,123 feet and covers an area of 595,749 miles.

Sea of Okhotsk

Situated between the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, the Sakhalin Islands, Hokkaido and the Kuril Islands, the Sea of Okhotsk is an extension of the Pacific Ocean located in the extreme north. The Sea of Okhotsk covers an area of 589,798 square miles and reaches depths of 17,093 feet.

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