Difference Between Ocean and Sea
We all know from our geography lessons in school that seas are smaller and indeed often a part of an ocean. Seas are partly contiguous to a land mass and are also often in land (surrounded by land), like the famous Caspian and Aral Seas.
Oceans are enormous when compared to any sea. The largest sea in the world is the Mediterranean with a total area of 1,144,800 square miles which is much smaller than the smallest ocean in the world the Arctic at 5,427,000 square miles.
There are only five oceans in the world namely the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Southern and the Arctic while there are dozens of seas around the world. Seas being close to land are generally much shallower than oceans and therefore it is possible for plant and animal life to thrive on a sea bed because it is generally lit up by light. Ocean beds are much much deeper, and support only very basic life forms like bacteria and shrimp that feed on them in isolated parts. This is because no light reaches there and the pressure are such that marine life as we popularly conceive cannot survive. Some idea of the depth of an ocean can be had from the fact that the Pacific Ocean has an average depth of 3790 meters or 12,430 feet. The average depth of the Mediterranean Sea on the other hand is 4690 feet.
Culturally people are much closer to and identify more with seas than oceans, as historically communities lived next to seas. The Mediterranean, the Aegean, or the Caspian seas for example all have particularly definable cultural footprints. The people in these regions have their distinct culinary and architectural markers, similarly with the Biblical connotations of a Red sea. Oceans on the other hand led to the discovery of new continents, a braver newer world. The term Trans or cross Atlantic, would not have come into existence if ocean traversing explorers had not gone ahead and discovered the Americas. It also led to colonization.
Another difference that one can think of is that man can often dive to the bed of quite a few seas with very basic scuba equipment. To get to the bottom of the ocean however one has to board a special vessel known as the Bathyscaphe, which can withstand the tremendous pressure which exists at the bottom of the ocean.
It is the oceans in which the seas empty their water, while oceans do not seek any outlets.
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