Q:

What are the differences between an ocean, a sea, a bay and a gulf?

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Quick Answer

Oceans, seas, bays and gulfs are all primarily distinguished by size. An ocean and a sea differ mainly by size as oceans are larger than seas. Similarly, the difference between a bay and a gulf is also based on size. Gulfs are larger than bays, and small bays are sometimes called coves.

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Full Answer

Oceans are the largest bodies of water on Earth, and they all contain salt water. There are only five oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Indian and Southern Oceans. The Atlantic Ocean is divided into the North and South Atlantic Oceans by the equator, and the Pacific Ocean is divided into the North and South Pacific Oceans by the same line. Seas are similar to oceans in that they contain salt water, but they are smaller in size. There are many more seas than oceans, and prominent examples include the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Baltic Sea. Generally, seas are surrounded by land, and oceans surround land.

A bay is an indentation in land by a sea, ocean or even a lake. A large bay that is in an ocean is referred to as a gulf. Because of their size and significance, most gulfs are specifically named. The Gulf of Mexico and the Persian Gulf are common examples. Both gulfs and bays are sometimes referred to as inlets.

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Related Questions

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    How big is the ocean?

    A:

    The ocean covers 321,003,271 cubic miles, or 70 percent of the Earth's surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. A cubic mile is the volume of a cube that measures 1 mile on each side. The ocean makes up 96 percent of the Earth's water.

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    How deep is the Indian Ocean?

    A:

    The average depth of the Indian Ocean is about 13,000 feet. At its deepest point, the Indian Ocean is just under 24,000 feet deep. It is the world's third-largest ocean.

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    How deep is the deepest ocean?

    A:

    The deepest spot in an ocean is the Challenger Deep, which reaches 35,797 feet below sea level, making it the deepest known location on Earth. It is located in the Mariana Trench, which is southeast of Japan in the western Pacific Ocean.

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    What are ocean waves called?

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    Ocean waves have different names and they are classified according to their periods. Ripples are small waves caused by the wind blowing across the sea surface, and they have an interval of less than 0.5 seconds.

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