Largest and deepest ocean
in the world, covering c.
33% of the Earth
's surface and containing more than 50% of the Earth's seawater. The Pacific extends from the Arctic Circle
, and from North and South America
in the e
in the w
. The e
Pacific region is connected with the Cordilleran mountain chain, and there is a narrow continental margin
. The ocean is ringed by numerous volcanoes, known as the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’. There are a number of large islands in the Pacific, most of which are in the s
. The major ones are New Zealand
, and the Japan
and Malay archipelagos. The principal rivers that drain into the ocean are the Columbia
in North America
, and the Huang He
in Asia. The average depth of the Pacific is 4300m (14,000ft). The greatest-known depth is that of the Challenger Deep (sw
in the Mariana Trench), which has a depth of 11,033m (36,198ft). The current pattern of the Pacific is made up of two gyres: n
of the Equator are the North Equatorial Current
, the Kuroshio Current
, the North Pacific Drift and the California
of the Equator are the South Equatorial Current
, the East Australian Current
and the Humboldt Current. The Equatorial Counter-Current separates the two gyres. Most fishing in the Pacific is done on the continental margins. Crab, herring, cod, sardine and tuna are the principal catch. Area: c.
166,000,000sq km (64,000,000sq mi).
Arctic Archipelago (ärk´tĬk, är´tĬk), group of more than 50 large islands, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, N Canada, in the Arctic Ocean. The southernmost members of the group include Baffin (the archipelago's largest island), Victoria, Banks, Prince of Wales, and Somerset islands; N of Viscount Melville and Lancaster sounds are the Queen Elizabeth Islands, of which Ellesmere is the largest. Tundra and permanent ice cover the islands, on which oil and coal have been discovered. After Greenland, the Archipelago is the world's largest high-arctic land area.