The Indian Ocean is the 3rd largest ocean in the world (after the Pacific and the Atlantic). It lies to the south of Asia, separating Africa from Australia. Because it is surrounded by land, it is called a closed ocean.

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It is named after India. 

Size: the Indian Ocean covers roughly 14% of the Earth’s surface. It measures 70,560,000 square kilometres (27,240,000 square miles).

Temperature: the Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean of all. Average surface temperatures range from 22 to 28ºC. Some areas, however, are extremely cold. There is an area between South Africa and southwest Australia that is so cold it has icebergs!

Depth: the average depth is about 12,274 feet (3,741 m).


Who lives in the Indian Ocean?

The high temperatures of the Indian Ocean make it difficult for phytoplankton to grow, which is an important source of food for many sea animals. The Indian Ocean also has less oxygen than other oceans. Less oxygen and less phytoplankton are the two main reasons why the Indian Ocean has less sea life than other oceans.

Some of the animals you can find here are whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, great white sharks, humpback whales and dugongs (also called sea cows). 

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Many endangered turtle species, such as the leatherback and loggerhead turtles live in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean has many islands. Madagascar and Sri Lanka are both located in the Indian Ocean.


Did you know? 

  • The deepest point of the Indian Ocean is called the Sunda Deep, located in the Java Trench near Indonesia. It’s about 7,258m deep.
  • The Indian Ocean used to be called the ‘Eastern Ocean’ or ‘Eastern Star’.