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Timor Sea facts for kids

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The Timor Sea is located in the eastern Indian Ocean

The Timor Sea is a relatively shallow sea. It is bounded to the north by the island of Timor, to the east by the Arafura Sea, to the south by Australia and to the west by the Indian Ocean.

The sea has a number of reefs, islands where no one lives and significant hydrocarbon reserves. The Timor Sea was hit by the worst oil spill for 25 years in 2009.


Timor Sea at East Timor

The waters to the east are known as the Arafura Sea. The Timor Sea is next to three large inlets on the north Australian coast, the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, Beagle Gulf and the Van Diemen Gulf. The Australian city of Darwin is the only large city by the sea. The small town of Wyndham is on the west arm of Cambridge Gulf, an inlet of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf.

Rivers that enter the Timor Sea from the Northern Territory include Fish River, King River, Dry River, Victoria River and the Alligator Rivers. Rivers in the Kimberley region that flow into the Timor Sea include the Ord River, Forrest River, Pentecost River and Durack River.

The sea is about 480 km (300 statute miles) wide, covering an area of about 610,000 km². (235,000 square miles). Its deepest point is the Timor Trough in the northern part of the sea, which reaches a depth of 3,300 m (10,800 ft). The rest of the sea is much shallower, much of it averaging less than 200 m (650 ft) deep.

In May 2010, it was said that a crater about 50 km wide has been found on the seabed of the Timor Sea.

Reefs and islands

A number of important islands are in the sea. Two of the islands are Melville Island, part of the Tiwi Islands, off Australia and the Australian-governed Ashmore and Cartier Islands. It is thought that early humans reached Australia by "island-hopping" across the Timor Sea.

Scott and Seringapatam Reefs formed in the area. To the west on the same underwater platform is the Rowley Shoals.

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