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Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean, The, is the name given by Magellan, in 1520, to the vast expanse of water which divides America from Asia. It measures 9,000 miles from south to north, whilst its breadth varies from 40 miles at Behring Strait to 10,000 miles between Quito and the Moluccas. The area may be reckoned as about 68,000,000 square miles. Its depth is greater than that of any other ocean, averaging 2,500 fathoms. The surface is affected by the equatorial current sweeping across the entire breadth from east to west and branching off southwards to the Polynesian Archipelago and Australia and northwards to Japan and Kamschatka, and by the southern Pacific counter-current flowing from Tasmania eastward and dividing into the Cape Horn and Peruvian currents. The highest temperature of water is found somewhat north of the equator, and the temperature of the southern is lower and more equable than that of the northern portion. As regards prevailing winds, the Pacific differs from the Atlantic in having a narrower equatorial belt of calms, and this affects the course of the trade-winds. Southerly and south-easterly monsoons blow during the summer months, and are reversed in winter, though liable to deflections in the neighbourhood of continents.

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