Facts and figures about the Ocean

    The amount of fish harvested in the world is more than that of cattle, sheep, poultry or eggs.

    Fish is the biggest source of wild or domestic protein in the world.

    The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest known animal ever to live on sea or land. Individuals can reach more than 33 metres (110 feet) and weigh nearly 200 tons. This is more than the weight of 50 adult elephants!

    The blue whale's blood vessels are so big that a full grown trout could swim through them to its heart, which is the size of a small car.

    Green turtles can migrate more than 1400 miles to lay their eggs.

    The blue fin tuna is one of the largest and fastest marine fish. Adults may weigh 680 kilograms (1500 pounds) and swim up to 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour.

    Penguins "fly" underwater at up to 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour.

    Horseshoe crabs have existed in the same form for 135 million years.

    The study of a deep sea community in an area half the size of a tennis court revealed 898 species. More half these species were new to science.

    Dugongs are the only fully plant eating marine mammal.

    Some 200 different species of fish, 60 species of crustaceans and 30 species of molluscs are fished.

    Over half of the world's population lives within 100 km (60 miles) of a coastline - more than 2,700,000,000 people ! (2.7 billion).

    By the year 2000, 13 out of 15 of the world's largest cities lie on or near coasts.

    The oceans hold 1,300,000,000 km³ (328,000,000 miles³) of water.

    The deepest spot in the Earth's oceans is the Mariana Trench, which is 11.7 km deep.

    15 of the world's 17 largest fisheries are either over-fished or in trouble.

    The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. The difference between high tide and low tide can be as great as 16 metres (53 feet) - the equivalent of a three story building.

    The periodic shifting of warm waters from the western to the eastern Pacific Ocean creates dramatic effects on the world's climate. This is called the El Nino effect.

    If the ocean's salt were dried it would cover the continents to a depth of 1.5 metres (5 feet).

    Global warming is predicted to increase sea levels by between 5 and 35 cm, by the year 2030!

    Australia is the world's largest island.

    Hot and Cold. Australia has all five of the world's temperature zones: tropical, subtropical, temperate, subpolar and polar.

    The Great Barrier Reef is the largest complex of coral reefs in the world, consisting of 2,900 separate reefs and is 2,500 km in length. It has an area of around 344,000 km².

    Most frequently found items found in beach clean ups are plastics, followed by plastic foam, plastic utensils, glass and cigarette butts.

    Air pollution is responsible for almost one third of the toxic contaminants and nutrients that enter coastal areas and oceans. There are 109 countries with coral reefs. Reefs in 90 countries are being damaged by tourism - cruise ship anchors, sewage, tourists taking chunks of coral, and by commercial harvesting for sale to tourists.

    The anchor from one cruise ship can destroy a sea bed area the size of half a football field.

    Undersea earthquakes and other disturbances cause tsunamis or tidal waves. One of the largest recorded tidal wave measured over 60 metres (200 feet) high when it reached Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula in 1737.

Tsunami 2004

    The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, was a great undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (07:58:53 local time) December 26, 2004 with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and inundating coastal communities across South and Southeast Asia, including parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Although initial estimates had put the worldwide death toll at over 275,000 with thousands of others missing, more recent analysis compiled by the United Nations lists a total of 229,866 people lost, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing. The figure excludes 400 to 600 people who are believed to have perished in Myanmar which is more than that government's official figure of only 61 dead. The catastrophe is one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. The disaster is known in Asia and in the international media as the Asian Tsunami, and also called the Boxing Day Tsunami in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom as it took place on Boxing Day. Coincidentally, the tsunami occurred exactly one year after the 2003 earthquake that devastated the southern Iranian city of Bam and exactly two years before the 2006 Hengchun earthquake.

    The magnitude of the earthquake was originally recorded as 9.0 on the Richter scale, but has been upgraded to between 9.1 and 9.3. At this magnitude, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. This earthquake was also reported to be the longest duration of faulting ever observed, lasting between 500(8.3 minutes) and 600(10 minutes)seconds, and it was large enough that it caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as half an inch, or over a centimetre. It also triggered earthquakes in other locations as far away as Alaska.

    The earthquake originated in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra. The resulting tsunami devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and other countries with waves up to 30 m (100 ft). It caused serious damage and deaths as far as the east coast of Africa, with the farthest recorded death due to the tsunami occurring at Rooi Els in South Africa, 8,000 km (5,000 mi) away from the epicentre. In total, eight people in South Africa died due to abnormally high sea levels and waves.

    The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than US$7 billion in humanitarian aid to those affected by the earthquake.

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