Social Studies – Bodies of Water
We are going to take a look at five of the classifications of bodies of water, starting with oceans, which are salt water, and they cover two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.
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So, now, an interesting note about oceans, as you’ve probably noticed, all the oceans are connected. So, really, there’s just one global ocean, but we do classify them into sub-oceans to make things easier.
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So, we have the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. So, those are considered the main oceans, but then, we also have the Arctic Ocean as our fourth ocean. So, for a long time, those were the four oceans of the Earth. But now, many countries are recognizing a fifth ocean called the Southern Ocean, or the Antarctic Ocean, because it surrounds Antarctica.
Now, moving on to seas, seas are also salt water, and seas are surrounded by land. So, the Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean Sea are great examples of this because they’re salt water, and they are surrounded by land. Now, notice I didn’t say that they’re inland, because while these are surrounded by land, they’re not completely surrounded by land. The Mediterranean Sea mainly is, except for an isthmus, but the Caribbean Sea is connected in large part to the Atlantic Ocean. The difference is, here, what makes the Caribbean Sea different from this part of the ocean is there are many islands surrounding it, making it somewhat closed off from the ocean. So, those are seas.
And then, we have lakes, which are fresh water, and these are inland. An example of this would be Lake Michigan, or any of the Great Lakes. And just a fun fact about lakes is that 60% of all lakes are located in Canada.
Now, rivers move from higher to lower elevations. So, for something to be a river, it has to be a moving body of water that flows from higher elevations to lower. Notice I didn’t say it has to flow from north to south. Many rivers do that, but some flow kind of east to west, and the Nile River actually flows south to north. And so, the Nile River is the longest river in the world, and the Amazon River is the second longest river in the world. So, what happens here is that usually little streams grow into rivers as tributaries add on to them until it becomes quite large, and then eventually, that river will empty its water into a sea or an ocean.
And then, we have canals, and canals are always manmade, and canals connect bodies of water. So, you have the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and the Panama Canal connects the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea so it allows ships to come through the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean Sea, and then on to the Pacific Ocean, or vice versa.
So, that’s a look at the five classifications, or five of the major classifications of bodies of water.
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