The Indian Ocean is the world’s third-largest ocean, after the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It has about 73,440,000 square km (28,360,000 square miles) and spans more than 10,000 km between the southern tip of Australia and Africa. The Indian Ocean covers roughly 20% of the Earth’s entire surface and is almost 5.5 times bigger than America.
The Indian Ocean is bounded between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula on the west, Asia (Iran, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) on the north, Australia, the Malay Peninsula and the Sunda Islands of Indonesia on the east, and Antarctica on the South.
Indian Ocean Facts
The islands of the Indian Ocean, except the coastal areas, were uninhabited until the colonial period. During the 8th century, African slaves, almost over 1000, were traded annually by the Muslim merchants, who also began spreading Islam all over the western shores of the Indian Ocean. This trade build connection between Eastern Africa and the Arab World.
The Indian Ocean has maintained historic trade routes for thousands of years, thanks to the monsoon winds. The monsoon dominates the weather patterns and the climate, setting the pace and rhythm of life on the ocean.
The winds of this region travel from the southwest (during April to October) and reverse during the rest of the year. With their knowledge about the monsoon wind pattern, they utilize the wind to swimmingly sail their ships to their destinations.
Let’s find out some more interesting facts about Indian Ocean!
1) Named after India
The Indian Ocean has been known by this name since the 1500s. This vast ocean was given this name because India has the longest coastline in the Indian Ocean. The name is also taken from an ancient Sanskrit Literature word, “Ratnakar,” which means ‘the mine of gems.’
2) It is the warmest ocean in the world
A significant portion of the Indian Ocean is located around or near the equator. Thus, the temperature here is warmer compared to other oceans. The average annual temperature in the Indian Ocean is 26.4 C (79.5 F).
The annual highest temperature is about 29.2 C, and the annual lowest temperature is 24.4 C. However, in the southern region of the Indian Ocean, which is nearer to the polar region, the temperature can get as low as 22 degrees Celsius.
The high temperature affects marine species and ecosystems, meaning the Indian Ocean harbors fewer species than other oceanic bodies. Rising temperature is also responsible for extreme weather conditions such as monsoon, cyclones, strong winds, and tsunamis.
3) Limited marine life
The Indian Ocean has the largest number of phytoplankton, drifting organisms that live on the water’s surface because of the monsoon winds. However, in recent decades, the concentration of phytoplankton has decreased up to 20%.
The rising oceanic temperature is accountable for the decrease in phytoplankton plus numerous marine species. These facts about Indian ocean shows why there are fewer marine life and the reason for their struggle.
4) Oil deposits make about 40% of the world’s production
The Indian Ocean is rich in mineral resources, especially petroleum. The Persian Gulf is the largest oil-producing region in the world. The interesting facts about Indian Ocean include 17 million barrels of crude oil are transported in tankers every day.
Aside from the Persian Gulf, India produces a large amount of oil from its offshore. Meanwhile, further offshore petroleum exploration activities are going on in other regions, including the northeastern coast of Australia, the Andaman Sea, and Madagascar’s southwestern coast.
5) The deepest point in the Indian Ocean is Java Trench
Java Trench, located near the Sunda Islands, is the deepest point in the Indian Ocean. It is about 24,442 feet (7460 meters). While the highest point is at sea level. The average depth of the Indian Ocean is 12,990 feet (3,960 meters).
6) It has some of the world’s major ports and seaways
The Indian Ocean is one of the world’s busiest trading routes. It is no wonder that it contributes to half of the world’s container traffic and 80% of the maritime oil shipments. The Indian Ocean is home to some key hubs such as:
Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Port of Djibouti, Djibouti
Port of Victoria, Seychelles
Gwadar Port, Pakistan
Chabahar Port, Pakistan
Durban Bay, South Africa
And, the Indian Ocean has some major waterways, such as the Suez Canal (Egypt), Strait of Hormuz (Iran-Oman), Bab El Mandeb (Djibouti-Yemen), Lombok Strait (Indonesia), and the Straits of Malacca (Indonesia-Malaysia). One of the amazing facts about Indian Ocean is its connection to various waterways.
7) Giant tectonic plate, the Indo-Australian plate, under the Indian Ocean is breaking into two
According to a study published by Geophysical Research Letters, a giant tectonic plate, the India-Australia-Capricorn plate, is breaking into two pieces. However, the process itself will take more than a couple of decades to occur. This slow-paced division results from two high-magnitude earthquakes that originated in the Wharton Basin, an area under the Indian Ocean.
Two earthquakes, one of magnitude 8.2 and the other of 8.6 hit Indonesia, in April 2012. Researchers found that these earthquakes did not originate from along a subduction zone, where one tectonic plate slides over the other plate, but instead from the middle of the plate.
8) Rich invaluable resources
The amount of various minerals available is also one of the amazing facts about Indian Ocean. Apart from petroleum, the Indian Ocean is blessed with high concentrations of minerals such as manganese, Ilmenite (a mixture of iron and titanium oxide), Chromite, Monazite, Tin, and Zircon. India, China, Germany, and South Korea have exploration contracts for polymetallic sulfides in the Indian Ocean.
All the above facts about Indian Ocean will give you slight knowledge about why and how it is related to be the supreme power in world politics. All the rich value of minerals to the waterways used by the ships and traders to the oil depositing capacity makes it one of the biggest targets of the economic giants whether it may be any business corporation or country.(Last Updated On: May 19, 2021)