To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.

The Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is often thought of incorrectly as a tropical ocean. Check your map! It stretches southward to Antarctica. It is triangular and bordered by Africa, Asia, Antarctica, and, Australia. Although it covers about 28.5 million square miles, it is smaller than the Atlantic and less than half the size of the Pacific Ocean. The maximum width is 6,200 miles between the southernmost portions of Africa and Australia. The Indian Ocean contains about 20 percent of the earth's water surface. Many island nations are found within the boundaries of this ocean - Madagascar, which is the world's fourth largest island, the Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.

The average depth of the Indian Ocean is about 12,750 feet. The deepest is 24,440 feet in the Java Trench in the extreme northeast corner of the basin. The Indian Ocean, like the Atlantic Ocean is divided by a mid-ocean ridge that separates the basin into nearly equal portions. The ocean's continental shelves are narrow, averaging 125 miles in width except off Australia's western coast where it broadens to 600 miles.

Natural resources: oil and gas fields, fish, shrimp, sand and gravel aggregates, placer deposits, polymetallic nodules

Environment - current issues: endangered marine species include the dugong, seals, turtles, and whales; oil pollution in the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea

Ports and harbors: Calcutta (India), Chennai (Madras; India), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Durban (South Africa), Jakarta (Indonesia), Melbourne (Australia), Mumbai (Bombay; India), Richards Bay (South Africa)
Geography Area:
total: 68.556 million sq km includes Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Great Australian Bight, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Mozambique Channel, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Strait of Malacca, and other tributary water bodies
Area - comparative: about 5.5 times the size of the US

Coastline: 66,526 km

Climate: northeast monsoon (December to April), southwest monsoon (June to October); tropical cyclones occur during May/June and October/November in the northern Indian Ocean and January/February in the southern Indian Ocean

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Java Trench -7,258 m
highest point: sea level 0 m

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