Pacific Ocean Facts for Kids

10 Facts about the Pacific Ocean

Here are our Top Ten Pacific Ocean Facts for Kids with lots of useful info for school projects and to get inspired for your next travels. Read here what you definitely should know about the Pacific Ocean.

Fiji Island, by Mike Mackinven at sxc.huFiji Island in the Pacific Ocean

1. Location: Where is the Pacific Ocean? The Pacific Ocean is located between Americas to the East of the Pacific Ocean basin and the Asian and Australian continents to the West. The Equator divides the Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Below you can see a world map showing the Pacific Ocean: 

Simply click the + and - signs on the left of the map and zoom into the map to see more about the bordering countries and to locate some of the islands we mention in the text below.

Pacific Ocean Westcoast USA, by Chris Root at sxc.huPacific Ocean near San Diego/USA

2. Name: What does pacific mean? Pacific means "peaceful", coming from the Latin "pace" for peace and the Pacific Ocean got its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 who called its waters "mar pacifico" which means peaceful sea.

3. Size: How big is the Pacific Ocean? The Pacific is the biggest ocean on earth and covers more than 30% of the earth’s surface. With a surface of 169,479,000sqkm/65,436,200sqmiles it provides almost half of the Earth’s water area. Did you know that the size of the Pacific Ocean is bigger than the total size of the landmass of all the continents together?

Pacific Ocean dolphins by Jeremy RedPacific Ocean dolphins

4. Depth: How deep is the Pacific Ocean? The Pacific is not only the biggest but also the deepest ocean with the deepest trenches. The average depth is about 3,800 metres/12,467 ft. The Challenger Deep in the Marina Trench, which is located to the West of the Philippines and north of New Guinea, is the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean with 10,920m/35,827ft. It is the lowest part of the earth crust and was formed by the collision of two tectonic plates. Why is it called 'Challenger Deep'? Because it was researched by the HMS Challenger in 1875.

Maui volcano by Chris Lacroix at sxc.huVolcanoes on Maui

5. Volcanoes: What is the ring of fire? Most of the volcanoes (actually 75%) on earth are located in the Pacific Ocean basin, the volcanoes actually form a ring around the basin and therefore it is called the ring of fire. Many earthquakes happen in this area due to volcanic activity and then ocean plate moves under the tectonic plates of the continents as well. Tsunamis, which cause terrible destruction when hitting the land, happen especially in this area.

Pacific Ocean Volcano erupting and lava flow on Big Island Hawaii - image by AllanGLava flow on Big Island Hawaii

More Pacific Ocean Facts

Oahu island, by Keith Syvinski at sxc.huPacific Island of Oahu

6. Temperature: How warm are the waters of the Pacific Ocean? The temperatures of the Pacific Ocean depend on the location. The nearer to the Equator the warm the water tends to be. So some regions the water is up to 30degC/86F, while near to the poles the water temperature decreases to freezing point. The lowest temperature measured was -2degC. In the warm waters of the Pacific ocean abundant sealife can be found, such as dolphins, fishes and snails, roaming the coral reefs.

Nudibranch on a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean

7. Islands in the Pacific: Most of the islands in the world are found in the Pacific Ocean. There are actually more than 25,000 islands in the Pacific and most of them are found south of the Equator in the Southern Pacific. Did you know that Indonesia consists of 17,508 islands; Japan consists of around 3,000 islands?

pacific ocean islands of Papua Indonesia - images by LimWFour king islands in Papua/Indonesia - image by Lim W

8. Pacific Ocean Facts: Atolls are coral islands in the ocean which are surrounded by a lagoon. Most of the world’s atolls are situated in the Pacific ocean. As atolls are only found in warm ocean water, the southern most atoll are the Coral Sea Islands to the West of the Barrier Reef in Australia. Below you can see a lagoon in Fiji.

Lagoon and Coral Reef near Fiji

9. Archipelagos: Many beautiful groups of islands are found in the Pacific Oceans. These islands form an archipelago, like the Fiji Archepelago or the Hawaiian Archipelago. The largest countries consisting mainly of archipelagos or clusters of islands are located in the Pacific Ocean: These are Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and New Zealand. Actually Indonesia is the largest archipelagic state in the world.

Corals, by Alexander Rist at sxc.huPacific Ocean Corals

10. Pacific Ocean Facts: What is the Great Barrier Reef? The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest reef in the world stretching over more than 2,300km/1,429miles and including more than 1,000 islands. It was proclaimed in 1981 a World Heritage Site and is now a protected area. Corals, tiny marine animals, also form many atolls in the Pacific Oceans. Did you know that most of the world’s supply of fish is caught in the Pacific?

Find out more about Australia's attractions here

Picture Credits for Pacific Ocean Facts Page: and own. Small inserts: 1. Pacific Ocean Fiji by Mike Mackinven, 2. Pacific Ocean San Diego by Chris Root, 3. Maui Volcano by Chris LaCroix, 4. Pacific Oahu by Keith Syvinski, 5. Corals by Alexander Rist

Read more on the Pacific Ocean in the CIA World Fact Book

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