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Facts about the Indian Ocean for Kids


  • The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world’s oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth’s surface.
  • It is bounded by Asia – including India, after which the ocean is named – on the north; on the west by Africa; on the east by Australia; and on the south by the Southern Ocean.
  • As one component of the interconnected global ocean, the Indian Ocean is delineated from the Atlantic Ocean by the 20° east meridian running south from Cape Agulhas, and from the Pacific by the meridian of 146°55′ east.
  • The northernmost extent of the Indian Ocean is approximately 30° north in the Persian Gulf.
  • Small islands dot the continental rims.
  • Their junctures are marked by branches of the mid-oceanic ridge forming an inverted Y, with the stem running south from the edge of the continental shelf near Mumbai, India.
  • An exception is found off Australia’s western coast, where the shelf width exceeds 1,000 kilometres.
  • Its deepest point is Diamantina Deep in Diamantina Trench, at 8,047 m deep; also sometimes considered is Sunda Trench, at a depth of 7,258–7,725 m.
  • North of 50° south latitude, 86% of the main basin is covered by pelagic sediments, of which more than half is globigerina ooze.
  • Glacial outwash dominates the extreme southern latitudes.
  • The major choke points include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, the Lombok Strait, the Strait of Malacca and the Palk Strait.
  • Seas include the Gulf of Aden, Andaman SeaArabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, Great Australian Bight, Laccadive Sea, Gulf of Mannar, Mozambique Channel, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and other tributary water bodies.
  • In the Arabian Sea the violent Monsoon brings rain to the Indian subcontinent.
  • When the monsoon winds change, cyclones sometimes strike the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Kerguelen Plateau is a small submerged continent, of volcanic origin, in the southern Indian Ocean.
  • The Mascarene Plateau is 2000 km long undersea plateau that lies east of Madagascar.
  • It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the Persian Gulf and Indonesia.
  • Beach sands rich in heavy minerals, and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
  • Fishing is confined to subsistence levels, because its fish are of great and growing importance to the bordering countries for domestic consumption and export.
  • The earliest known maritime trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley (c.2500 BC) was conducted along the Indian Ocean.
  • In 1497, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and became the first European to sail to India and later the Far East.