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The four main ocean basins are those of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans.The Pacific Ocean, which occupies about one-third of Earth's surface, has the largest basin.Its basin also has the greatest average depth at approximately 14,000 feet (4,300 meters).The Atlantic Ocean basin is half the size of that of the Pacific Ocean and is not quite as deep, averaging about 12,000 feet (3,660 meters).The large depression that is created between the spreading sections is known as a rift valley.Mid-ocean ridges are divided into three groups depending on their spreading rates: slow, medium, and fast.These elevated ridges mark the area where sections of oceanic crust are pulling apart from each other.
(For further information on continental margins, see the Continental margin chapter.) By ocean basins, this discussion is referring to what may be termed the deep-ocean basins: those areas of the ocean floor lying more than 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) beneath the surface of the oceans.The features of continental landscapes are mirrored by similar features on the ocean basins.Plateaus, plains, valleys, rolling hills, and volcanic cones and mountains are found beneath the waters of the oceans, just as they are on dry land.They are part of the same crust (thin, solid outermost layer of Earth) that forms the continents.
The transition between continental crust and oceanic crust occurs in the continental slope.In a few places, however, they actually extend above sea level and form islands.