The Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean

Video. Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala reviews general facts about the Indian Ocean.


3 - 12+


Biology, Earth Science, Oceanography, Geography, Physical Geography

If you had to draw the boundaries of the Earth's oceans on a map, would you be able to? The answer is no—because there is really only one "world ocean." Nevertheless, oceanographers have divided the world ocean into five principal areas, or basins: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic Ocean, and Southern Ocean basin.

This video focuses on the Indian Ocean basin.

Fast Fact

  • The deepest point in the Indian Ocean is the Java Trench. The Java Trench is also referred to as the Sunda Trench.

Fast Fact

  • During the winter, humpback whales travel from cold waters near the poles, where they spend the summer feeding, toward warmer waters closer to the equator. It's estimated that each year, 7,000 humpback whales migrate to the waters around Madagascar to breed and calve.

Fast Fact

  • The Indian Ocean is nearly six times the size of the United States and spans over 9,978 kilometers (6,200 miles) from the southern tip of Africa to the western coast of Australia.

Fast Fact

  • Oil tankers on the Indian Ocean carry 17 million barrels of crude oil a day from the Persian Gulf en route to shipping ports around the world.

Fast Fact

  • The Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean basin on earth. The warmth of the water inhibits the growth of phytoplankton and severely limits the amount of marine animals this area of the ocean can support.
Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Marshall Daly, National Geographic Society
Mary Ford, National Geographic Society

Narrator: Enric Sala
Audiovisual: Steven Pickard
Scripts/Support: John Grotland, Barrett Worthington

Last Updated

January 8, 2024

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