Geography

Antarctic Ocean


Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean, is the name given to all the waters that bathe the Antarctica.

This is part of the Amundsen Sea, the Bellingshausen Sea, part of the Drake Passage, the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea.

Many experts, oceanographers and geographers, do not recognize the existence of the Antarctic Ocean, considering it merely as an extension of the waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.

The Antarctic Ocean is the only one that completely surrounds the globe. It has a surface of 20,327,000 km². Its size has been calculated on the basis of the limits constituted by the “Treaty of Antarctica” (Treaty signed by several countries in 1956 where it establishes Antarctica as an international territory for peaceful and research purposes).

The natural resources of the Antarctic Ocean have not yet been explored, however large oil and natural gas deposits are known to exist near the Antarctic continent and manganese deposits. Antarctic ice is the largest freshwater reserve in the world, representing approximately 81% of the total.

The Antarctic Ocean has great biodiversity. Its fauna has pinnipeds (penguins, seals, sea lions and walruses), cetaceans, cyanobacteria, phytoplankton and krill, which serve as food for larger animals. Antarctica has no terrestrial flora, and its only plant composition is made from seaweed and other autotrophic organisms.