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Do the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Mix?

Posted on 7 January 2020

There are lots of different oceans and seas around the world, from the Atlantic and Indian oceans, to the Baltic and Meditteranean seas. When you look at a map, each one looks entirely independent – but is this really the case? 

A photo of two different-coloured bodies of water sitting next each other went viral recently, which many people thought were the Atlantic and Pacific oceans refusing to mix. But that assumption was incorrect; instead, the photo captured very light-coloured freshwater filled with sediment that had come from melted glaciers, alongside dark ocean water from the Gulf of Alaska. The reason the two bodies of water remained separate is that freshwater tends to float on top of saltwater. Eventually, though, these bodies of water would mix thanks to currents and eddies (circular currents that cause small whirlpools).  

The same goes for the rest of Earth’s oceans and seas – while they might seem separate from one another, they’re actually just one big body of water! 

*To view the real photo of this natural event, simple search 'Gulf of Alaska' in Google Images. Parental supervision is advised.