Word for Wednesday: Ocean

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Covering around 72% of our planet's surface, containing 97% of its water, and producing most of the earth's oxygen, yet less than 10% have been explored by humans.

This week’s Word for Wednesday is Ocean.

Ocean comes from the Greek ‘okeanos’ – meaning 'the great river surrounding the disk of the earth’.

Ocean refers to the vast body of salt water that covers most of the earth's surface, and is subdivided into Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans. The word sea is often used interchangeably with ocean in American English but can imply smaller less significant salt water bodies; although the North Sea was in fact known as the German Ocean as late as the 18th century.

The myth of Atlantis and aquatic human life beneath in the oceans also comes from the Greeks. In July this year the record for the longest time spent living underwater 31 days was established by Fabien Cousteau grandson of Jaques-Yves Cousteau the great marine explorer who only managed 30 days with six fellow divers or ‘oceanauts’ in 1963!

Life on earth began in the ocean around 3.5 billion years ago; land dwellers arrived relatively recently around 475 million years ago. A mere drop in the ocean!

Hugh MacDermott

03 Sep 2014
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