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Ocean Triple Divide Points

RankPeak Elev-M Basin 1Basin 2Basin 3CountryContinentAscent Date
1.Dome Argus4093Atlantic OceanIndian OceanPacific OceanAntarcticaAntarctica 
2.Snow Dome-South Slope2940Pacific OceanArctic OceanAtlantic OceanCanadaNorth America 

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List Description

By this reckoning, there are only two summits in the world where water drains into three different oceans. Both are glacial ice caps--one in Antarctica, and one in the Canadian Rockies. The exact position where the ice moves in three different directions at these points will shift over time, so neither peak offers a satisfyingly exact mathematical point.

Some geographers subscribe to the notion of a "Southern Ocean", defined as all waters south of 60 degrees south latitude. Those who accept this notion will have to leave Dome Argus off this list, since all ice in Antarctica then flows into one ocean. However, even though the Southen Ocean may have some real-world boundary in the form of the fluctuating Antarctic Convergence water boundary, my feeling is that oceans should be defined exclusively by landmasses that surround them. Therefore, this site does not recognize the Southen Ocean.

Another controversy is whether or not Hudson Bay is part of the Atlantic or Arctic oceans. Good arguments can be made either way, but, to me, the wide Hudson Strait leads directly to the Labrador Sea and the Atlantic. The path from Hudson Bay to the open Arctic is a convoluted route though many islands, so here the South Slope of the Snow Dome becomes the triple-ocean point of North America. But if you consider the Hudson Bay as part of the Arctic, the "Honorable Mention" of Triple Divide Peak becomes the hydrographic apex of the continent.

A final note: there are no triple-ocean points in Asia becasue of vast areas of internal basins that do not drain to the sea in Central Asia. The basins of the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific all end at this large internal area before they can meet.

 


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