XKCD's "Lakes and Oceans" chart of the other 70% of the planet

Randall Munroe's produced another in his series of his spectacular, gigantic charts of unimaginably large and complex things compared and rendered tractable by the human imagination. "Lakes and Oceans" has everything you need to cultivate an appreciation for the vasty depths and the ocean blue. Plus, a snarfworthy punchline at the deepest depths.

Lake and Oceans


55 Responses to “XKCD's "Lakes and Oceans" chart of the other 70% of the planet”

  1. corydodt says:

    The hovertext was positively Lovecraftian. Well done, Randall.

  2. anando says:

    I always envisioned the Mariana as more of a trench. Certainly seems less dramatic now. 

  3. franko says:

    no lake tahoe : (

  4. sisyphus321 says:

    Freddy Mercury and David Bowie?

  5. Stefan Jones says:

    Whenever I read “Marianas Trench” I picture it full of spaghetti sauce.

    * * *
    But seriously: Brilliant comic.

    • legotech says:

       When we lived in Boston, we tried a few different “great” restaurants in the North End (Italian part of town) and decided that the entire neighborhood was on top of the Marinara Trench and all the restaurants just pumped their sauce from there. We couldn’t figure out how else every single place would have the same “homemade” sauce :)

  6. chgoliz says:

    Is there a higher quality resolution version somewhere (other than the XKCD site) so that it’s readable once embiggened?

    People can stay on my lawn, I just would like to be able to read the small print.  Yes, I’m using my bi-focals.  No, they’re not helping.

    • dculberson says:

      Why “other than the XKCD site?”  If you go there and click on the comic it is 2,592px × 1,728px which is plenty big to read even for bi-focal wearers.

    • LaylaSV says:

      I didn’t know you could click on it either and was coming to post the same thing. Go click on the chart – it’s lovely. 

      • chgoliz says:

        I did click on the chart, and it wasn’t enough (I find that wavery handwriting very difficult to read) so I manually zoomed.  A second click worked much better.  I’ve never needed to double click on that site before today.  Now I know….thanks, guys!

        • C.J. Hayes says:

          Depending on your browser, it might resize the image to fit the screen by default, which is why you’d need the second click.

      • tyger11 says:

        Welcome to the World Wide Web. Pro-tip: if you don’t know if something is clickable, click on it.

        • C.J. Hayes says:

          Pro(er)-tip: don’t just click on everything because you don’t know if it’s clickable.  That’s the fast track to malware and trojans.

  7. Tim H says:

    All the depth and it only takes the first 6′ or so to drown you.  

  8. Ipo says:

    I really, really want to know what James Cameron found behind that mysterious door.  
    I bet whatever it is, it was worth going solo  for. 

  9. ObeyMyBrain says:

    Crater Lake doesn’t seem accurate for it’s height above sea level. It’s also missing Wizard Island. The Dead Sea is shown being below sea level and the Great Lakes at a couple steps above, so shouldn’t Crater Lake’s surface be about 7000 ft above sea level?

  10. RadioSilence says:

    Is that a tiny Niagara Falls between Lakes Erie and Ontario? :D

  11. Jason Baker says:

    Question that’s been bugging me today…  Randall lists “Pressure at this depth would pop the cork into a champagne bottle” well above the Titanic.  Yet, the article on the Titanic in this month’s National Geographic listed a champagne bottle “with the cork still in it” as one of the artifacts recovered from the wreck.  Did they mean “the cork was completely inside the bottle” or did they mean that it was still intact? Brief interneting seems to indicate the bottle was intact.  So was this a goof, or is there more at work here than meets the eye?  (I imagine that it could have been more-carbonated-than-usual, but not THAT MUCH more-carbonated-than-usual).

    • breadteam says:

      I wonder if it means a champagne bottle full of air, not champagne.

      • Jason Baker says:

        That would make a lot more sense, given the other things occurring relative to the depth.  Thanks!

      • Guido Schlabitz says:

        Yes, it must be an empty champagne bottle, because liquids are virtually impossible to compress.

      • legotech says:

         Wonder if they mean that the wire cage and wax seal were intact? Like making a paper mache wrap around a balloon and then popping the balloon leaving the ‘cast’ still shaped like the balloon? Maybe the wire wrap is still in the shape of the cork? I dunno, I’m over thinking this I’m sure….

    • AlexG55 says:

      Champagne corks are asymmetric and sort of mushroom-shaped with the “cap” of the mushroom on the outside, so the cork wouldn’t actually go in. I think that the pressure down there may be equal to that in a (shaken?) champagne bottle, though.

  12. ocker3 says:

    I’m thinking about those whales that fight with the squid, perhaps we could send down teams of some kinda of cameras and have it be like boxing matches (but lethal)?

  13. grimatongueworm says:

    Note to self – Do not f#ck with the Emperor Penguins.

    • legotech says:

       HOLY COW, no doubt!  Now we totally have to train Emperor Penguins to swim INTO nuke sub torpedo tubes and sabotage the subs!!!

  14. breadteam says:

    Question: what’s the little horizontal line at ~1500m, between the aircraft carrier and the Titanic?

  15. Ted Bautista says:

    re. “The Abyss” — is this a reference to the James Cameron movie or is there such an underwater geological feature called “The Abyss”?

    also, yes, it’s rude to stare. which explains why it stares back.

  16. niktemadur says:

    Obligatory xkcd reference:  First the “Gravity Wells” strip ( http://xkcd.com/681/ ), now this.
    Gotta love Randall, one of the good guys.

  17. TooGoodToCheck says:

    I’m kind of blown away by the knowledge that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in water that was shallower than it was long.

    • I remember  that realization with the Kursk.  It must have been frustrating knowing that if they could only stand the sub up, they could get out.

    • CLamb says:

       The Edmund Fitzgerald sank was because it was in shallow water in a storm.  The water became so rough that when the ship went into a trough it slammed the entire bottom of the ship against the lake floor.  If it had been in deeper water it likely would’ve survived.

  18. dnebdal says:

    Also, this underlines just how technologically impressive  platform-based oil drilling really is, even if it sometimes goes horribly wrong.

    The north sea condeep platforms around here are up to 300m tall structures standing on the ocean floor, drilling down another 2.5 km or so.  Impressive enough, but the sheer well depth is dwarfed by the really deep ones (like the deeper end of the Gulf of Mexico projects).

  19. schrutzki says:


    I’m missing the French research Sub “Nautile” and the Japanese “Shinkai 6500″  which
    routinely go (manned) down to 6000 and 6500 meters respectively. Which makes over 90% of the ocean floor accessible. Personally, I find that more awesome than the 400 additional Bar that Mr. Cameron endured once. No doors down there at 650Bar, though …

  20. eerd says:

     And with growing importance. The share of deepwater oil as part of the world’s total is set to increase, basically as we run out of easier onshore oil and much of the Middle East is offlimits to exploration.

  21. hapa says:

    at some point i figured that if you drew the pacific ocean from edge to edge on a regular sheet of paper then cut along your outline, the thickness of the paper was approximately to scale with the average depth.

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