The IndianOceanThe Ocean Basin that I have chosen to study is the IndianOcean (figure 1). I feel that this, although not the largest Ocean, is one ofthe most interesting regarding its phenomena, size, and formation. (Fitriani, 2017), Figure 1 Formation Duringthe Jurassic period, Gondwana (Southern Supercontinent) beganseparating; allowing for the formation of the Indian Ocean to begin.
This happenedaround 180 million years ago, but it took a further 144 million years for theIndian Ocean to take its current shape (Kanayevet al. 1998).Monsoon Monsoonsare a seasonal occurring weather phenomenon; with the Indian Ocean experiencingone in the summer and the winter. These arecaused by a pressure difference as a consequence of solar heating (IndiaNews). During the summer theland is hotter than the ocean, so the ocean winds blow over the land; with theopposite happing during the winter. The summer monsoon is more famous than thewinter, due to it’s heavy, dramatic rainfall, and moist winds blowing over fromthe sea to the land. The water supply on land in the monsoon areas is lacking, soagriculture relies on the rainfall of the summer monsoon. Winter monsoons onthe other hand are known for being dry, because the Himalayan mountains preventthe distribution of moisture (Kim Rutledge et al.
2011). Commonly a cyclone can accompanythese monsoons, like a hurricane moving from the Ocean to the shore (Weatherquestions, 2012). Circulation TheIndian Ocean has the Indian Ocean Gyre (figure 4), which contributes to theglobal ocean circulation, known as the Thermohaline Circulation (THC) (figure3). The gyre is formed of the South Equatorial Current, and the West AustralianCurrent (Indian Ocean, 2017); which generallyflows anti-clockwise, but effects of the winter monsoon cause a reverse indirection.
The THC movesheat around the globe. Cooler areas of the atmosphere, such as above the NorwegianSea, are heated by the transportation of warm waters to these high latitudes. Afterheating, the water becomes cold with a higher density, leading it to sink andbecome part of the deep-sea circulation (NOAA,2017). As freshwater is less densethan saltwater, salinity is another affecting factor in the THC. The salinityof the Indian Ocean varies.
The Red Sea has one of the highest salinity levelsof all seas in the world, whereas the Bay of Bengal is relatively low becauseit receives freshwater from surrounding rivers. High salinity levels in areas suchas The Red Sea and the Arabian Sea are because of the rapid rate of evaporation,and fewer fresh water supplies (NIO, n.d.). (Dr Sutton, 2010), Figure 5 igure 3 (Thermohaline Circulation, 2018) Locationand its Seas Bordering Africa, Asia, and Australia, the Indian Ocean has awide geographical span giving it access to many climates, countries, and watersystems. This tropical positioning gives home to some of the hottest waters inthe world, and the warmest ocean surface temperature. TheIndian Ocean is home to many waters, such as the Arabian Sea, The Gulf of Aden,The Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, and The Persian Gulf (25 Unique Characteristics ofthe Indian Ocean, 06/12/17). However, there are few islands in this ocean,meaning that the seas are quite deep (UW360, n.
d.). The large size of the continent Africa has caused issues for trade andtransport, with ships having to navigate around the bottom of it in the past. However,in 1869 the Suez Canal (figure 5) was open for use. This is an artificialwaterway through Egypt, connecting the Red Sea (Indian Ocean) to the MediterraneanSea (Atlantic Ocean) (Evan Andrews, 2014). Physicalfeatures On average, the Indian Ocean is 3741m, AB1 with the deepest point measuring 7906m in the SundaTrench (Fitriani, 2017) Witha volume of roughly 264,000,000 km3, 19.8% of the World’s Oceanwater is held within this basin.
Matching its magnificent volume, a surfacearea of 70,560,000 km2 allowsit to cover around 14% of the Earth’s surface (Eakins et al. 2010). However,this doesn’t make it the largest Ocean Basin; the Pacific Ocean is the largestin the world with the Atlantic Ocean coming second.
As mentioned earlier, the Sunda Trench(also known as the Java Trench) is the point where the Austrailian-Capricorn tectonic plate falls under theEurasian tectonic plate (Sunda Trench, 2017). This is a great tsunami andearthquake hazard, with one of the largest earthquakes on record happening in2004 resulting in a tsunami, this is known as the ‘boxing day tsunami’ (Dr.Prothero,2014).
(Dr.Prothero, 2014), Figure 7 The IndianOcean doesn’t do things in moderation. Though extreme earthquakes and the deepestundiscovered depths make it quite terrifying, the advantages of this basin outweighthese terrors. All these features make this unusual ocean basin the more remarkable.