The Indian Ocean is the third biggest saltwater division on the planet. It is approximately as big as 20% of the total area of all the oceans included on the earth. Though it is the youngest and smallest ocean on the planet, but it has the most complicated habitat of world’s most mysterious species. The Indian Ocean is wide-spread with an area of more than 73,440,000 square km, i.e., approximately 28,360,000 miles. And the band of the ocean is around 10,000 km (6,200 miles) between the Australian and African southern portion, that too, excluding the adjoining seas. While the Sunda Deep, Java Island of Indonesia is the deepest region of the Indian Ocean, it is 3960 m deep on an average.
Toward the northern side, the ocean is confined by the Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India, while the eastern side is bounded by Australia, Indonesian Sunda Island, and Malay Peninsula. To the west aspect of the ocean are the Arabian Peninsula and African regions and Antarctica is on the southern side. The eastern and southeastern waters of the Indian Ocean are mixed with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and Southwest waters mingle with the Atlantic Ocean.
Determining the boundaries of the Indian Ocean has been a complex issue and is still uncertain. The most apparent and acceptable limit is the one with the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest side that ranges from the Cape Agulhas (at the South of Africa) to the edges of the continent Antarctica. The most argued upon the boundary of the Indian Ocean is its northeastern limit.
In addition, the southern border of the Indian Ocean has also do not have any fixed global geographical setting over the edge of the ocean water. Typically, the limit of the ocean on the southern side is outlined by its extension towards the south border of the Antarctica continent. While many people assume that this part of the ocean is closer to the continent Antarctica, yet many other believe that the southern waters of the Indian Ocean share the boundary with the Southern Ocean.
Geology of Indian Ocean
Out of all the three significant oceans, Indian Ocean has lesser adjoining seas than any other ocean. The Persian Gulf and the Red Sea fall on the northern side of the ocean. The Andaman Sea comes towards the northeastern region of the ocean, while the northwest side has the Arabian Sea. Northwest border touches the massive gulfs of Aden and Oman, and the northeast side has the Bay of Bengal and southern shore of the ocean has the Great Australian Bay next to it.
Not only complexity and uncertain borders but the Indian Ocean also varies from the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean in many ways. In the North hemisphere, the Indian Ocean is surrounded by massive lands, and it does not have moderate or cold regions like the arctic temperatures. The Indian Ocean here has some island and the narrow bands of the lands of various subcontinents. This is the only ocean with the non-symmetrical shape. The Indian Ocean does not have any bottom water originator, though the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea provide the saline water to it. In the north region of the Indian Ocean, the quantity of the dissolved oxygen lowers as you go deeper.
Formation of the Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean has the most complex origination theories out of all the vast oceans. Moving back to approximately 180 million years ago, the Indian Ocean was formed due to the outcome of the cracks in the South supercontinent existed in the geologic past of the earth known as Gondwana. This occurred because of the very gradual movement of Indian subcontinent towards the northeast side, which resulted in the collision between the Eurasia and the Indian subcontinent around 50 million years ago. These cracks were also formed due to the African movement towards west that caused the breakup of the Australia from the Antarctica. This led to the enigmatic appearance of the today’s the Indian Ocean in 36 million years. Though the cracks were formed around 140 million years ago in the past, yet the age of the oldest basins is calculated to be 80 million years.
Significant Islands of the Indian Oceans
The Indian Ocean comprises of the fewer islands than other bigger oceans, Madagascar being its fourth biggest island across the globe. Other than Madagascar, there are numerous islands such as Mauritius, Lakshadweep (including Amindivi, Minicoy and Laccadive Islands), Comoros, Sunda groups, Crozet, Kerguelen, Chagos, Andaman and Nicobar, Amsterdam; the Amirante, Saint-Paul, Prince Edward, Farquhar, Cocos. Also, there are many continental fragments such as Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Socotra, and the Maldives.
Climatic Conditions of the Indian Ocean
Depending upon the atmospheric dissemination, the Indian Ocean mainly possesses the four latitudinal climatic zones. These include Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic region, Subtropical and temperature Zone, Trade Winds Zone and, Monsoon Zone
Dominant Monsoon Climate
The monsoon climate affects the most of the north equator regions. This weather condition is marked by the compelling semiannual winds. During summer season in the north hemisphere regions, i.e., from May until October, the higher atmospheric pressure on the Australian continent and the lower atmospheric pressures in the Asian regions lead to southwest monsoon climate in the southern Asian locations. Similarly, during the winter season (from November until April) in the northern hemisphere, high atmospheric pressure on the Asia and low pressure over Australian continent result in the rainy season in the north of the Australia and south of Indonesia.
The northwestern locations of the Indian Ocean have an arid climate. The rain is some regions are even less than 250 mm every year. On the other hand, equatorial locations are the wettest zones with usual rainfall of 2,000 mm per year. Besides, the temperature of the air over the in the summer is usually 25-28 degree Celsius, but as you go towards northeast Africa, the temperature dips to 23 degree Celsius. The sky during the monsoon in summer is found to be cloudy most of the time, while winter sky is less frequently clouded, 10-30 % at the most.
Transportation and Trade
The industrial revolution during the 19th century resulted in increased sea trade due to the various latest merchandises. The regions of the Indian oceans such as South Africa, India, and Australia traded the raw material for the advanced goods and products. The best way to transport these goods was through waterways. The Indian Ocean also came up as a significant mode of transportation of these products, especially when the petroleum industry dominated the market, and oil and its by-products were sent to various continents like North America and Europe through East Asian countries. Similarly, tea, rubber, coal, and iron were also transported through different means via Indian Ocean. Hence, Indian Ocean has played an important role in the globalization of various commodities.
Along with the developments in the world’s trade, there are many beautiful islands in the ocean, which are amongst some most popular tourist destinations.
The commercial shipments of the Indian oceans have three approaches regarding transportations, which are through tankers, dry cargo carriers, and dhows. The sailing ship called dhow dominated the ocean for two millenniums. These vessels used the power of the monsoon winds to transport the goods. Most of these lateen-rigged sailing vessels have been replaced with big ships nowadays, while the remaining ship runs on the powerful engines. The containerization of the cargo shipping has changed the old methods of carrying goods. Interestingly, most of the continents depend hugely on the transportation through the Indian Ocean including Asia, Europe, North America, Australia and Africa.
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