How Many Large Gyres Exist in the World's Oceans?


Quick Answer

The five most notable ocean gyres are the Indian Ocean Gyre, the North Atlantic Gyre, the North Pacific Gyre, the South Atlantic Gyre and the South Pacific Gyre. The North Pacific Gyre is the site of a collection of floating man-made debris, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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Full Answer

Gyres are circular ocean currents. They are formed by wind patterns and by the forces created by the Earth's rotation. Gyres can be relatively small and only last a short while, but the world's major gyres are very stable and can cover millions of square miles. Their circular currents tend to draw in debris, which eventually makes its way to the center of the gyre and becomes trapped.

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