About 71% of the Earth's surface is covered with water and the remaining 29% is landmass*. If you could theoretically cut the planet in half, with the objective of producing a half with the most landmass possible (and another with the most water possible), where would the cut be? More specifically, where would the centers (in the surface) of both halves be located?

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    $\begingroup$ The Pacific Ocean should figure prominently in the answer to this. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2016 at 1:38
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    $\begingroup$ What's the actual real-world problem that you are trying to solve here? $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Jun 21, 2016 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, but where would the centers of both halves be exactly located? (Specially the one with most landmass) $\endgroup$
    – Gabe12
    Jun 21, 2016 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Daniel or alternatively Eurasia\Africa. $\endgroup$ Jul 14, 2016 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


You would have to cut somewhere along this circle:

enter image description here

The only landmass here is New Zealand, eastern Australia, eastern PNG, western North America and some Pacific islands. I'm pretty sure you can tweak it a bit, but that's the basic idea. Notice that this actually shows less than a half because of the relatively low altitude. If you "zoom out" infinitely you'll get some more Australia and more America in this, but it's still going to be mostly ocean.


It's a moot point, and probably varies somewhat according to the state of the tide. Visually, however, the 'pole of maximum ocean' is about half-way between two atolls in the south Pacific: Tautua, 9°00' S; 157°58' W, and Starbuck Island, 5°38' S; 155°53' W. (Not that I wish to give overpriced and over-rated coffee any undue publicity!).

By the same token, the pole of maximum land must be 180 degrees different in lat and long - I leave you to figure that out :-)

  • $\begingroup$ Fantastic answer! Do you have a source for where the "pole of maximum ocean" is? $\endgroup$
    – user967
    Oct 14, 2016 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ @BarryCarter, this Wikipedia article is a great resource, and includes values. $\endgroup$ May 24, 2017 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ Coincidentally, I wasn't convinced of Gordon's idea that the maximum land and maximum ocean must be antipodal. But for those uncertain, since you have a set ocean and land area, if you find the hemisphere with the maximum ocean, then by definition the other hemisphere must have the minimum ocean. And if it has the minimum ocean, it has the maximum land. Sorry if that's obvious to people, but it wasn't to me for whatever reason! $\endgroup$ May 24, 2017 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest -- The wikipedia article puts the location at a markedly different spot (47°13′S, 178°28′E) than the one in Gordon Stanger's answer. The wikipedia article pretty much agrees with multiple other sources. $\endgroup$ May 24, 2017 at 13:55

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