Science TED-Ed

How big is the ocean? A summer-appropriate TED-Ed lesson

Posted by: Emmie Le Marchand

“Imagine yourself standing on a beach, looking out at the ocean — waves crashing against the shore, blue as far as your eyes can see.” This is the opening line of Scott Gass’ TED-Ed lesson, “How big is the ocean?” But the animated video gives you much more to think about than sand between your toes and waves tickling a white sandy paradise.

In this lesson, Gass wows us with mind-boggling facts about the defining space of our planet: the ocean. For example: In the ocean, there is a peak over 1km taller than Mount Everest. With more than half of its mass hidden below water level, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea is one of the ocean’s best-kept secrets. Elsewhere, ocean water conceals a mountain range 10 times the length of the Andes; a waterfall down which falls 116 times more water per second than the Congo River’s Inga Falls; and a canyon six times deeper than the Grand Canyon. These facts only skim the surface of the depths to which Gass takes us in this TED-Ed lesson.

Impressive as these tidbits are, some might wonder why they are important in our daily lives. Well, as Gass points out, our interaction with water every day means that we have an enormous opportunity to influence the health of the world’s oceans. As Gass puts it, “The ocean defines our planet, but we define the ocean.”