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Q and A Banner - #3 (World Records-1)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


No, it's not 5! (I thought it was.
There are seven 7 continents on earth.

Continents are land masses of the earth with characteristics (geographically and/or culturally), unique to each For example, Europe and Asia are physically part of the same landmass, but the two areas are culturally diverse. (That is, the various cultural groups in Asia have more in common with one another than with those of Europe.)

By convention there are seven continents - they are (from largest in size to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.  If you count Europe and Asia continent as one continent (Eurosia) there are 6 continents. In other parts of the world, students learn that there are just five continents: Eurasia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and the Americas.

The earth was never divided into 7 continents billions of years ago. There have been many  'transformations' within that time.  As a matter of fact, it is said that many scientists figure Earth began as one huge continent — dry as a bone. Water was delivered in comets, the thinking goes, and then the oceans developed.
Plate tectonics has continually shifted the position of landmasses; while some were rifted apart, creating new landmasses, others collided to create tall mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, and combine landmasses. 

Some Interesting Points:
  • The terms Oceania or Australasia are sometimes substituted for Australia to denote a continent encompassing the Australian mainland and various islands of the Pacific Ocean not part of other continents. For example, the Atlas of Canada names Oceania, as does the model taught in Italy, Greece and in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

  • The seven-continent model is usually taught in China and most English-speaking countries. The six-continent combined-Eurasia model is sometimes preferred in the former states of the USSR and Japan. The six-continent combined-America model is sometimes taught in Latin America and in some parts of Europe including Greece (equivalent 5 inhabited continents model (i.e. excluding Antarctica) still also found in texts), Portugal and Spain. Using this latter model as a starting point, the Olympics use only inhabited continents (excluding Antarctica) and thus a five-continent model as depicted in the Olympic logo.
  • Geographers divide the planet into regions, and generally not continents, for ease of study. Various geographers have various definitions of these world regions. This Official Listing of Countries by Region divides the world into eight regions: Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Australia and Oceania.

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