What is Indian Ocean?

Looking for Indian Ocean facts? But before that, really quickly, what is Indian Ocean?

Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world, and it covers 1/5th of the total ocean area. It holds 20% of the total water in the world.

It has an average depth of 3,960 meters or 12,990 feet. The deepest point is at 7,450 meters or 24,442 feet.

The mighty Indian Ocean has a number of surprises hidden in it. This article on Indian Ocean facts will definitely take you by surprise if you are not already aware of the same.

So, why waste time on a nice and interesting opening paragraph? Instead, let us get amazed with these fascinating facts about Indian Ocean. Let’s start…

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 1-5

1. Indian Ocean is the only ocean in the world which has been named after a country.

2. Of all the countries sharing the Indian Ocean, India has the longest coastline with this ocean.

3. In terms of size, the Indian Ocean is world’s 3rd largest ocean. The two that are bigger than the Indian Ocean are Atlantic Ocean (2nd) and the Pacific Ocean (1st).

4. Of the total ocean area in this world, 1/5th is covered by Indian Ocean.

5. Of the total water that sits on this Earth, 20% is found in Indian Ocean.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 6-10

6. In total, 16 countries from the continent of Africa, 18 countries of the continent of Asia and 57 groups of islands are connected with this ocean.

7. The continent nation of Australia is also connected with the Indian Ocean.

8. If we go by NEWS (North East West and South), we will find Indian Ocean bordering Asia to the North, Australia to the East, Africa to the West and Antarctica to the South.

9. Actually, to the South, the Indian Ocean borders the Southern Ocean – aka – Antarctic Ocean.

10. The Indian Ocean has its northernmost point located in the Persian Gulf at equator’s 30° north.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 11-15

11. The imaginary line that separates Indian Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean is the 20° east meridian that starts are Cape Agulhas and runs south.

12. Similarly, Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean are also separated by an imaginary line. The boundary is defined as 146°55’E meridian which starts from Tasmania’s southernmost tip and runs south.

13. The total area that the Indian Ocean covers is 73,556,000 sq. km. or approximately 28,350,000 square miles.

14. The total volume of this ocean stands at 292,131,000 cubic kilometers.

15. The ocean is widest at 10,000 kilometers or 6,200 miles between Australia’s Southern tip and Africa’s Southern tip.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 16-20

16. The average depth of the ocean stands at 3,960 meters or 12,990 feet. However, the deepest point in the ocean is Java Trench’s Sunda Deep. The depth here is 7,450 meters or 24,442 feet.

17. In Indian Ocean, the warmest sea is the Persian Gulf. The second warmest sea is the Red Sea. Red Sea is also the most saline of all seas in the Indian Ocean.

18. Each year, the Indian Ocean is getting wider by approximately 20 centimeters.

19. Of all offshore oil production that takes place in this world, 40% comes from Indian Ocean.

20. The Kerguelen Plateau is a newly discovered continent that sits submerged in the Indian Ocean in its southern part.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 21-25

21. Of all the oceans is world, the Indian Ocean is the youngest and its evolution is also the most complicated of all. So, just how did the ocean come into existence and when? Continue reading…

22. Indian Ocean’s evolution is actually the result of a continental breakup that began some 180 million years ago (mya). It all began when Gondwanaland – the southern supercontinent started breaking.

23. Indian Ocean did not come into existence until 140 mya. By 125 mya Indian Subcontinent started drifting northeast to eventually collide with what is known as Eurasia some 50 mya.

24. Some 53 mya, Africa, which was a part of Gondwanaland started moving west while Australia and Antarctica (which were also parts of Gondwanaland) broke apart.

25. The present form of the Indian Ocean that we see actually took shape some 36 mya and most of the ocean’s basin is 80 million years old. This makes the Indian Ocean, the youngest of all oceans in world.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 26-30

26. The continental shelves of the Indian Ocean are really narrow. The average width is 120 kilometers or 75 miles with widest points found in India’s western coast off Mumbai (300 kilometers or 190 miles and off Australia’s northwest.

27. There is however one exception to this narrow continental shelf feature of Indian Ocean. It is found off the western coast of Australia and is as wide as 1,000 kilometers or 620 miles.

28. Of the three major oceans (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian), the Indian Ocean has the least number of marginal seas.

29. Indian Ocean is rich in coastal configurations that are well-defined. There are dunes, beaches, lagoons, barrier island complexes, coral reefs, cliffs, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, deltas and estuaries.

30. Indian Ocean is the warmest of all oceans that are present on planet Earth. However, temperature varies from one part of the ocean to another.

The average temperature is 22°C at 20°S south latitude’s North but can reach 28°C or even higher near equator’s coastal regions. There is a quick drop in temperature once we move southwards and cross the 40°S latitude.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 31-35

31. Going southwards of Indian Ocean at around 65°S latitude, one will always encounter icebergs and pack ice. Icebergs can reach as high as 45°S latitude.

32. Because of the high temperature of the Indian Ocean phytoplankton cannot grow properly and hence, the marine life diversity is very limited in the ocean.

33. Not just the scarcity of phytoplankton, low levels of oxygen in the ocean’s waters is another contributing factor towards limited marine life diversity of the ocean.

34. There is something call Ninetyeast Ridge – a 5,000 kilometer long underwater mountain range in the Indian Ocean that divides the ocean into East Indian Ocean and West Indian Ocean.

35. Despite the fact that marine life is limited in the Indian Ocean, it still remains the largest breeding ground for the majestic Humpback Whales.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 36-40

36. We learned about the deepest point in Indian Ocean but what is the highest point? The highest point is the sea level itself.

37. Indian Ocean has very complex hydrological characteristics. There are horizontal water layers caused by different types of circulation. Lighter layers lie atop heavier layers. Even the salinity, temperature and oxygen content in each layer differs.

38. The salinity of the Indian Ocean differs from place to place. The surface salinity of the ocean usually ranges between 32 and 37 ppt (parts per thousand). Arabian Sea for instance, has 37 ppt salinity while Bay of Bengal has 32 ppt salinity.

39. Indian Ocean is the home to several tectonic plate boundaries. One such example is Rodrigues Triple Point. This is the boundary of Antarctic continental plate, Indo-Australian continental plate and African plate.

40. Yet another boundary or fault line is the Indian tectonic plate and Burmese plate at meet at a subduction zone. In 2004, Indian tectonic plate moved below the Burmese plate and created a vertical crack of about 20 meters.

As a result, a large amount of water was displaced, causing a massive tsunami due to the earthquake of magnitude 9.3 caused by the crack. This lead to around 200,000 deaths and over 1 million people became homeless.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 21-25

41. There are many important harbors and ports in Indian Ocean. These are located in various continents. For instance, in the Indian subcontinent are the ports of Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.

In Australia is the Melbourne port. In Indonesia there is Jakarta port. South Africa has Richards Bay and Durban while Sri Lanka has Colombo.

42. Indian Ocean is considered as a locked ocean. That’s because, the ocean has the whole of Asia sitting to its north, creating a landlock.

43. The circulations of the Indian Ocean change course twice every year.

44. Only subsistence level fishing is allowed in Indian Ocean.

45. Indian Ocean has 4 primary access points. They are Strait of Malacca, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and Suez Canal.

Awesome Indian Ocean Facts: 46-50

46. The sands of the beaches of the Indian Ocean are known to be mineral rich. Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa and India extensively exploit those resources.

47. Indian Ocean has numerous manganese nodules but even the most advanced technologies of current times have failed to extract manganese.

48. A rare earth mineral called mozanite has been found in sand bodies near shores of Indian Ocean. Other minerals that have been found include ilmenite, chromite, zicron and tin.

49. Just like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, even the Indian Ocean has what is known as Indian Ocean Garbage Patch that spans over 1.9 million square miles or 5 million square kilometers. It was discovered in year 2010.

50. This patch is basically a plastic garbage vortex that circulates throughout the ocean. Its circulation route is Australia to Africa through Mozambique Channel and then back again to Australia.

This circulation takes 6 years to complete and happens because the vortex rides the southern Indian Ocean Gyre. However, some debris is actually stuck at the very center of the gyre, and hence, never travels.

List of all Islands in Indian Ocean:

Madagascar (Continental Fragment)

Maldives (Continental Fragment)

Seychelles (Continental Fragment)

Socotra (Continental Fragment)

Sri Lanka (Continental Fragment)

Christmas (Volcanic Origin)

Cocos (Volcanic Origin)

Farquhar (Volcanic Origin)

Prince Edward (Volcanic Origin)

Saint Paul (Volcanic Origin)

Amsterdam (Volcanic Origin)

Amirante (Volcanic Origin)

Andaman and Nicobar (Volcanic Origin)

Chagos (Volcanic Origin)

Crozet (Volcanic Origin)

Kerguelen (Volcanic Origin)

Sunda Groups (Volcanic Origin)

Comoros (Volcanic Origin)

Lakshadweep (aka Amindivi, Minicoy, Laccadive) (Volcanic Origin)

Mauritius (Volcanic Origin)

Réunion (Volcanic Origin)

List of territories and countries bordering Indian Ocean

Southern Indian Ocean:

Prince Edward Islands (RSA)

French Southern and Antarctic Lands (FRA)

Heard Island and McDonald Islands (AUS)




Ashmore and Cartier Islands (AUS)





Saudi Arabia









United Arab Emirates


Sri Lanka

British Indian Ocean Territory (UK)


Cocos Islands (AUS)







Christmas Islands (AUS)













France (Mayotte and Réunion)

French Southern and Antarctic Lands (FRA)



South Africa

List of all straits, bays, gulfs and marginal seas of Indian Ocean:

Strait of Hormuz

Strait of Bal-el-Mandeb

Sea of Zanj

Red Sea

Persian Gulf

Palk Strait

Mozambique Channel

Laccadive (Lakshadweep) Sea

Indonesian Seaway (which includes Torres Strait, Sunda Strait and Malacca Strait)

Gulf of Oman

Gulf of Khambat

Gulf of Kutch

Gulf of Carpentaria

Gulf of Bahrain

Gulf of Tadjoura

Gulf of Aqaba

Gulf of Aden

Gulf of Mannar

Great Australian Bight

Bay of Bengal

Arabian Sea

Andaman Sea


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