The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth’s oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.
At 165.25 million square kilometres (63.8 million square miles) in area, this largest division of the World Ocean and, in turn, the hydrosphere – covers about 46% of the Earth’s water surface and about one-third of its total surface. The equator subdivides it into the North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific. The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the Pacific and in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 metres (35,797 ft).
The Pacific Ocean was sighted by Europeans early in the 16th century, first by the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa who crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and named it Mar del Sur (South Sea). Its current name was given by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish expedition of world circumnavigation in 1521, who encountered calm seas during the journey and called it Tepre Pacificum in Latin, meaning “pacific” or “peaceful sea”.