The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.
At 165.25 million square kilometres (63.8 million square miles) in area, this largest division of the World Ocean – and, in turn, the hydrosphere – covers about 46% of the Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of the Earth's land area combined. The equator subdivides it into the North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific. The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 metres (35,797 ft).
The eastern Pacific Ocean was first sighted by Europeans early in the 16th century. Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and named it Mar del Sur (South Sea). The ocean's current name was given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish expedition of world circumnavigation in 1521, who encountered favourable winds as he reached the ocean and called it Mar Pacifico in Portuguese, meaning "peaceful sea".
Famous quotes containing the words pacific ocean, pacific and/or ocean:
“It is easier to sail many thousand miles through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with five hundred men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of ones being alone.... It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I need not tell you of the inadequacy of the American shipping marine on the Pacific Coast.... For this reason it seems to me that there is no subject to which Congress can better devote its attention in the coming session than the passage of a bill which shall encourage our merchant marine in such a way as to establish American lines directly between New York and the eastern ports and South American ports, and both our Pacific Coast ports and the Orient and the Philippines.”
—William Howard Taft (18571930)
“What angels invented these splendid ornaments, these rich conveniences, this ocean of air above, this ocean of water beneath, this firmament of earth between? this zodiac of lights, this tent of dropping clouds, this striped coat of climates, this fourfold year?”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)