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LOOK: On World Oceans Day, here are 7 deeply interesting facts

This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is ‘Revitalisation: collective action for the ocean’. Picture: Pexels

This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is ‘Revitalisation: collective action for the ocean’. Picture: Pexels

Published Jun 8, 2022

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Celebrated annually on June 8, World Oceans Day aims to remind us how magnificent the vast blue waters are and the vital role they play in everyday life.

Oceans cover over 70% of the planet, they produce over half of the planet’s oxygen and are home to an estimated 700 000 species.

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This year, the theme for World Oceans Day is “Revitalisation: collective action for the ocean”.

Here are 7 deeply interesting facts about the ocean.

1. There is a ‘White Shark Café’ in the Pacific Ocean

Marine biologists discovered a spot in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico where hundreds of great white sharks congregate annually.

While the reason for their gathering is not yet fully understood, a research team from Stanford University said the great whites visit the spot with depths of 200 metres, to feed on light-sensitive animals such as squid and small fish.

A group of sharks is called a “shiver”.

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Photo Credit: Shark Diving Unlimited

2. Point Nemo is known as the world's most lonely place.

It’s a spot in the Southern Ocean that’s 2 688km away from land in every direction.

It isn’t named after a fish from a movie. It’s a tribute to Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's novel “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea”. The Latin translation of Nemo means “no man”.

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When the boats pass Point Nemo they are likely to be closer to astronauts on the space station than to other humans on planet Earth.

World map showing Point Nemo. Image: Wikidata

3. Corals can produce their own type of ‘sunblock’.

Researchers discovered that corals can produce a fluorescent pigment that can protect them from the harmful effects of sunlight and UV rays.

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Corals get their vibrant colour from the algae that grows on them and they thrive in shallow, clean ocean waters.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, in fact more wildlife live around coral reefs than in any other part of the ocean.

FILE - A coral reef pictured off Townsville, Queensland, Australia.(AP PHOTO/Udo Weitz)

4. There are underwater geysers in some parts of the deep blue

Hydrothermal vents, also known as “black smokers”, are like geysers pouring hot, mineral-rich fluids from beneath the sea-floor.

They are commonly found along mid-ocean ridges where tectonic plates spread apart.

These vents can turn the near surrounding water to around 400°C.

Hydrothermal vents. Image: World Hole Oceanographic Institution

5. The Mariana Trench is deeper than the highest mountain is tall

With a depth of over 11km, the Mariana Trench is the deepest point on the planet where the water pressure is eight tons per square inch.

Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, Mount Everest is around 8.8km high.

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, it was first pinpointed in 1875 and only a handful of explorers have reached the bottom.

6. The ocean is our greatest source of oxygen.

Scientists estimate that around 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean.

The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton and tiny marine plants, specifically, phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton.

Just like land-based plants, they contain chlorophyll to capture sunlight and use photosynthesis to convert it into the energy they need. They consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.

7. We have an ugly plastic pollution problem

The United Nations estimates that 11 million metric tons of plastic are currently entering the ocean annually and this will triple in the next 20 years.

Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and death.

Plastic pollution threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change.

EPA/CHRISTIAN THOMPSON

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