Deepest Oceans And Seas

Although Planet Earth has a total surface area of about 510.1 million km2, approximately 70.9% is covered by drainage features like oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, streams, gulfs, and other water reservoirs. Oceans and their marginal seas are the world’s largest and deepest waterbodies. The world’s deepest point, the Challenger Deep, is located in the Pacific Ocean. The extreme depths of the oceans and seas result from subduction, where one of the two colliding tectonic plates descends into the Earth's mantle.

Oceans alone cover about 335.3 million km2, 65% of the Earth’s total areas, and have an average depth of 3,688 m. They contain 97% of the global water, about 1.35 billion cubic kilometers. However, not all five oceans have equal depths. Here are the deepest oceans and seas.

Deepest Oceans

Map of the world's oceans.

The Pacific Ocean is the world’s deepest ocean and water body, with an average depth of 4,280 meters, and a maximum depth of 10,911 meters. It contains the Earth’s deepest point (Challenger Deep, at 10,928 m) and the Southern Hemisphere’s deepest point (Horizon Deep, at 10,823 m).

The Atlantic Ocean has an average depth of 3,646 meters, making it the third-deepest ocean by average depth, with a maximum depth of 8,376 m below sea level. The Puerto Rico Trench, located near the Caribbean Sea, is the Atlantic’s deepest point. The Indian Ocean has an average depth of 3,741 m, making it the second-deepest ocean by the average depth. However, the ocean is 7,258 m deep at the deepest point, making it the third deepest ocean and water body. The Java Trench, located near Sumatra Island, is the Indian Ocean’s deepest point.

The Southern Ocean, the southernmost ocean, is the world’s fourth-deepest ocean and water body with an average depth of 3,270 m. Its maximum depth is 7,236 m. The South Sandwich Trench is the ocean’s deepest point. The Arctic Ocean is the smallest, shallowest ocean, with an average depth of 1,204 m and a maximum depth of 5,450 meters. The Molloy Hole, located in the Fram Strait, is the ocean’s deepest point.

Deepest Seas

The Caribbean Sea is the world's deepest sea.

There are numerous seas of varying sizes, shapes, characteristics, and depths. The Caribbean Sea is the Atlantic Ocean’s second-largest sea and the world’s deepest sea, with a maximum depth of 7,686 m below sea level. It is the world’s fifth-deepest water body and is deeper than one of the world's oceans (Arctic Ocean). The Cayman Trough, located between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, is the sea’s deepest point. The South China Sea is the second-deepest sea, at 5,016 m below sea level.

The Bering Sea, located between the Americas and Eurasia, is the eighth-deepest water body and the third-deepest sea, at 4,097 m. The Gulf of Mexico wraps up the list of ten deepest oceans and seas, with a maximum depth of 3,787 m. The Gulf is separated from the Caribbean Sea by the Yucatán Channel. 

The 10 Deepest Oceans And Seas

Rank

Ocean Maximum depth (m) Average depth (m)
1 Pacific Ocean 10,911 4,280
2 Atlantic Ocean 8,376 3,646
3 Indian Ocean 7,258 3,741
4 Southern Ocean 7,236 3,270
5 Caribbean Sea 7,686 2,200
6 Arctic Ocean 5,450 1,204
7 Mediterranean Sea 5,267 1,500
8 South China Sea 5,016 1,024
9 Bering Sea 4,097 1,640
10 Gulf of Mexico 3,787 1,585

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