Covering nearly 20% of the Earth’s surface, the Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water on the planet. The Indian Ocean covers over 68 million square miles, which is over five times the size of America.
Located between the eastern coast of Africa, the south of Asia, and the west of Australia, the Indian Ocean acts as the main sea trading route among these continents, particularly for oil.
Due to its size and geographic location (spanning from the tropics of Southeast Asia to Antarctica), the Indian Ocean is home to a wide variety of sea life and diverse physical features. Did you know that there is a mountain chain, thousands of miles long, along the Indian Ocean floor? This oceanic ridge system is made up of several extinct volcanoes, deep trenches, and hundreds of smooth, flat plains called ocean basins. Scientists have even found a submerged continent down there called The Kerguelen Plateau.
Text by Gabrielle Pasternak. Image from the CIA Factbook.