Map of the Oceans

I love maps, especially unusual maps. I came across this map of the world’s oceans at Wikipedia’s article “Ocean” (though it’s since been replaced with an animated version).

map of Earth's oceans
See full-sized version. Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Alexandre Van de Sandre.

We naturally tend to focus on the continental land masses when looking at maps, since that’s where we live. Mr. Van de Sandre here attempts to fight that tendency, and I believe he’s done a good job. Though one still tends to pick out the familiar shapes of the continents, it is not difficult to make the water the center of one’s attention. It is easy to see the oceans as part of one major “world ocean” with the continents floating in between (though naturally the continents don’t actually float on the surface of the ocean).

Though almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, the oceans are still unexplored to a significant degree. Humans are descended from marine vertebrates, and life probably originated in or near the sea. Oceanography is a very important field since the oceans have a huge impact on land-based ecosystems and of course they are intimately involved with our climate.