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Amazing Water Facts

Fact Feature Size
Largest Ocean Pacific Ocean area = 166 million sq km
(64 million sq miles)
Largest Sea South China Sea area = 3 million sq km
(1.1 million sq miles)
Biggest Bay Bay of Bengal area = 2.2 million sq km
(868,000 sq miles)
Deepest point in ocean Mariana Trench (Pacific Ocean) 11 km (36,000 feet down)
Saltiest Sea Dead Sea (Israel/Jordan) 9 times saltier than oceanwater
Hottest Seawater Persian Gulf 35o C (95o F)
Longest River Nile River (Africa) 6,670 km (4,145 miles)
River that carries most water Amazon River (South America) pours 4 million cubic feet every second into Atlantic
Muddiest River Yellow River (China) deposits rich silt over 141,645 sq km in its flood plain and delta.
(2 billion tons of soil washed down each year)
Highest Waterfall Angel Falls (Venezuela) Total drop = 980 m (3212 feet)
Deepest and oldest lake Lake Baikal (Siberia) Deepest part = 1,940 m (6,365 ft)
age = 25 million years old
Largest freshwater lake Lake Superior (N. America) area = 82,103 sq km (32,000 sq miles)
Smallest Great Lake Lake Ontario (N. America) area = 19,546 sq km (7,550 sq miles)
Shallowest Great Lake Lake Erie (N. America) 64 m (210 feet deep)
Largest salty sea Caspian Sea area = 371,841 sq km (143,630 sq miles)
length = 1207 km (750 miles)
Longest freshwater lake Lake Tanganyika (Africa) length = 676 km (420 miles)
Highest navigable lake Lake Titicaca (S. America) height = 3,811 m (12,307 feet)


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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

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Aquifer

An aquifer is the name for a layer of rock which is capable of holding a large amount of water. Some layers are better at holding water than others, for example a layer of sandstone can hold a good deal...more

Carbonates

Carbonate is a name for rocks and minerals which contain a molecule made of both carbon and oxygen known as CO32-. (CO32- is also known as the molecule carbonate). Limestone is an example of a calcium...more

Deep Water and the CO2 cycle

The deep ocean waters are under pressure and are much colder than layers of the ocean which are closer to the surface. Dissolved carbon dioxide seems to be absent from the deep ocean water and as a result...more

Evaporation

One process which transfers water from the ground back to the atmosphere is evaporation. Evaporation is when water passes from a liquid phase to a gas phase. Rates of evaporation of water depend on things...more

Surface Ocean Currents

The water at the ocean surface is moved primarily by winds that blow in certain patterns because of the Earth’s spin and the Coriolis Effect. Winds are able to move the top 400 meters of the ocean creating...more

Rivers

Rivers are very important to Earth because they are major forces that shape the landscape. Also, they provide transportation and water for drinking, washing and farming. Rivers can flow on land or underground...more

Salinity

About 70% of the Earth is covered with water. Over 97% of that water is found in the oceans. Everyone who has taken in a mouthful of ocean water while swimming knows that the ocean is really salty! Dissolved...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA