THE PACIFIC OCEAN ITS BOUNDARIES AND EXTENT The Pacific Oceans is by far the largest expanse of water on the globe, being nearly double the size of the Atlantic, and having an area variously estimated at from fifty to one hundred millions of square miles. It extends from Behring's Strait on the north to the Antarctic Circle on the south; and is bounded on the east by the continent of America, and on the west by Asia and Australia. Unlike the Atlantic, its meridional extension is inferior to its equatorial dimensions, the distance in a direct line from Behring's Strait to the Antarctic Circle being a little over 9,000 miles, while along the equator the Peruvian coast on the east is fully 12,000 miles from the nearest islet of the Malay Archipelago on the west. Like the Atlantic, it opens out broadly into the southern sea, but instead of two comparatively wide channels as Davis Strait and the channel between Greenland and Norway, the only connection with the Arctic Ocean is by the narrow pas sage, scarcely fifty miles in width, of Behring's Strait. South of Cape Horn and Tasmania, the exact boundaries of the Pacific are, of course, purely imaginary, the limit on the east being along the meridian from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Circle ; that on the west being an imaginary line running meridionally from South-west Cape, in Tasmania, to the Antarctic Circle. The greatest width of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is under the direct line of the equator ; but while that of the former is only 4,200 miles, that of the latter is upwards of 12,000 miles. Its area, as we have said, is variously estimated by different geographers. Dr. Keith Johnston estimates it at 67,810,000 square miles, or nearly twice the total water area of the globe, or about one fourth of the entire surface of the globe. Corresponding to
the Atlantic in meridional extension, the configuration or shape of the two great oceans is widely different. The long, con tracted, canal-like basin of the Atlantic contrasts strongly with the immense oval-like expanse of the Pacific. The gradual and close approximation of the Asiatic and American continents north of the equator is imperfectly reproduced in the general south-easterly trend of the Malay Archipelago, Australia and New Zealand, and the southerly extension of the S. American coasts. The Pacific is thus nearly land locked on the north, while on the south its waters merge in definitely into the Antarctic Ocean, from Balleny Islands on the west to South Shetland on the east. If we consider the distribution of land and water as shown in the continental and oceanic hemispheres, it will be apparent that both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are but northerly extensions of the im mense circum-terrestrial Southern Ocean—the Atlantic form ing an elongated gulf, and the Pacific a vast bay, between the Old and New Worlds.
As a glance at the accompanying map will show, the general direction of the Pacific coasts are as follow :—(1) north-west from Behring's Strait to Anam ; thence north east along the East Indian Archipelago, East Australia curving south. (2) From Behring's Strait the American coasts trend in a south-easterly direction as far as Panama ; thence, bending round to Arica, they skirt the Andes, almost due south along the 71st meridian. The following table exhibits the countries on opposite sides of the Pacific :—