Continents

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A continent is one of several very large landmasses of the world. Six regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in size to smallest, they are: Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Icons-flag-aq.png Antarctica, and Icons-flag-au.png Australia. However, some people use a 7-continent model, where the continents are (in decreasing order): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. Australia is the name of a country, the largest island[1] in the Earth, and a continent (that only includes the countries Australia, parts of Icons-flag-id.png Indonesia, and New Guinea) but for convenience purposes, the Australian continent is included in a extension that includes Icons-flag-hawaii.png Hawaii and the other Pacific Islands called Oceania.

All of the continents were once joined up in a single supercontinent called Pangaea. Due to plate tectonics, Pangaea broke into the continents we have today. The Indian Subcontinent was a separate continent for several million years, before colliding with Eurasia and creating the Himalayas. Icons-flag-nz.png New Zealand and Icons-flag-nc.png New Caledonia are not part of the Australian continent, but rather part of Zealandia, a former continent that sank into the ocean 100 million years ago.

North America

South America

The Nazca Plate is the cyan plate, the main South American plate is in purple, and the Scotia plate in green.

South America is the continent to the south of North America and the continent between Oceania and Africa. These two continents are separated by the Panama Canal, even though all of Panama is usually considered located in North America. South America is mostly referred to as Latin America due to the influences from Latin countries, mostly Icons-flag-es.png Spain and Icons-flag-pt.png Portugal.

Tectonic Plates

The South American continent associates with three tectonic plates: the Nazca Plate, located off the coast of Icons-flag-cl.png Chile, the main South American plate, and the Scotia plate (which only contains the Scotia Sea located south of the Icons-flag-fk.png Falkland Islands).

Africa

Satellite photo of Earth with Africa clearly visible

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent on the Earth. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 20% of the Earth's total land area.

Plate Tectonics

Africa's tectonic plate not only contains Africa, but also Sicily, Icons-flag-il.png Israel, and Iberia (Spain and Portugal). According to some predictions, the African plate is breaking at the East African Rift into the Nubian Plate (Africa west of the rift) and the Somali Plate (Africa east of the rift). This will possibly cause eastern Africa breaking off mainland Africa in the future.

Eurasia

Europe

Asia

Asia, along with Europe, form Eurasia, the largest continent on Earth. Asia is mostly located in the northern hemisphere.

Properties

The Eurasian Plate can be found in green, the Arabian plate in yellow. The Indo-Australian plate has been divided into two, but the Indian and Australian plates are mostly regarded as one. The Philippine Plate can be found in red. The Anatolian Plate is not present in the image.

Stretching from the icy Arctic Ocean in the north to the hot and steamy equatorial lands in the south, Asia contains huge, empty deserts, as well as some of the world's highest mountains and longest rivers. It has 30% of the world's land area and 60% of the Earth's population.

Tectonic Plates

Asia associates with a few tectonic plates. Icons-flag-tr.png Asia Minor occupies the Anatolian Plate. The Middle East covers the Arabian Plate. Icons-flag-in.png India is located on Australia's tectonic plate, the Indo-Australian Plate, reflecting India's collision with Asia 50 million years ago. Europe and Asia (except Icons-flag-jp.png Japan and Eastern Icons-flag-ru.png Russia, which are on North America's tectonic plate) share the Eurasian plate. Southwest Russia and the Korean peninsula are located on the Amurian Plate. The Icons-flag-ph.png Philippines has its own tectonic plate named after it, but the Philippines does not cover any part of it.

Australia

Both the countries of the Australian continent and the submerged continent of Zealandia are highlighted.

Australia, to distinguish it from the Commonwealth of Australia, is a continent consisting only of the Commonwealth of Australia, Papua (a province of Indonesia), and Icons-flag-pg.png Papua New Guinea. Situated in the geographical region of Oceania (which is not a continent; includes not just the countries in the Australian continent but also the other island of the Pacific Ocean), it is the smallest of the seven traditional continents in the English conception.

New Zealand and New Caledonia are not part of the Australian continent, but rather part of Zealandia. If Zealandia is not counted as a continent, then New Zealand and New Caledonia are not part of any continent.

Plate Tectonics

Australia shares its tectonic plate with the Indian subcontinent, the Indo-Australian plate. New Zealand is shared between the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates.

Antarctica

Map of Antarctica
Antarctica as a wall of ice at the edge of the Flat Earth

Antarctica is the Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,000,000 square kilometers (5,400,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent.

About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that is almost 2 kilometers deep on average.

According to people who believe that the Earth is flat, Antarctica is not a continent, but rather an 'Ice Wall' at the edge of the Earth.[2]

Data Table

Continent Name Highest Point Typical Landscape Land Area (in km2)
Eurasia Icons-flag-np.png Everest Mountainous with lush forests. 55,000,000
43,820,000
Icons-flag-ru.png Elbrus 10,180,000
Africa Icons-flag-tz.png Kilimanjaro Contains the Sahara desert.

Also has lush rainforests in the

middle.

30,370,000
North America Icons-flag-alaska.png Denali Mountainous and flat. 24,490,000
South America Icons-flag-ar.png Aconcagua Contains the Amazon rainforest.

Mountainous in the Andes.

17,840,000
Antarctica Icons-flag-aq.png Vinson Massif Entirely covered by ice. 13,720,000
Australia
  • Oceania
Icons-flag-id.png Puncak Jaya High temperatures and few

rainforests. Also has large deserts.

9,008,500
Icons-flag-us.png Mauna Kea Most of Oceania's countries are

tropical island countries.

10,975,600
Former Continents
India (former) Icons-flag-in.png Kanchenjunga Several forests and high mountains. 4,400,000
Zealandia (former) Icons-flag-nz.png Aoraki Lots of forests, tundra, and

mountains.

4,920,000

References


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