The earth is a wonderful planet. With so much to explore and so much to see. We've all learned about Earth as a planet in the solar system, ever since we were kids. We found our own way to grasp everything that we were told about it and mold it into a way that we would understand better. And we did it so well, that it is stuck in our heads. Knowledge about it is activated by some sort of default memory that our brain possesses. One of these questions that we should be able to answer at any time of the day (or night), is what are the 7 continents of the earth? The answer is simple and has been drilled down into our heads with such finesse by our Geography teachers (bless them), that it's really hard to forget. Let us revise them in the article below.
Continents of the World
In order to understand about the continents, we need to go over what exactly a continent is. Then we can get into the details about each of the continents on an individual level. So, what is a continent? A continent is a huge, continuous mass of land, that is separated by any other mass of land by a large expanse of water, namely the oceans. Extensive coastlines mark the edges of the continents. Continents are generally referred to as mainlands. Continents are believed to have been formed due to the tectonic movements of the earth's crust. It is believed that in the beginning, all the land mass that we see today, was joined together on the surface of the earth. This land mass got fragmented and divided into the seven continents that we see today due to the movement below the earth's crust, that forced them to spread apart and form separate landmasses. Given below is a detailed account of the 7 continents.
*Click on the images for a better look of the continent maps.
Asia is the largest continent in the world, by area and by population. It spans the northern and eastern hemisphere and is home to more than half of the total population of the world. It occupies almost 9% of the total land mass of the earth. If you ever plan to travel to Asia, you would like to take a look at the different prevalent cultures of Asia. Some of the important countries in Asia are India, Japan, U.A.E, Oman, etc. Other countries also worth visiting are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. Asia is home to two of the oldest civilizations in the world, namely the Indian and the Chinese. Asians are known for the strong influence that customs and traditions have on their lives. Asia experiences all types of climates, from hot deserts to snow covered mountains, from hot and humid beaches to pleasant tropical breezes.
Africa is the second largest continent in the world. It houses 54 countries; including South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius, etc. It comes second to Asia in population too, housing around 15% of the world population. The upper portion of Africa, being close to the equator, has dry and arid desert areas. But as we go lower, there is plenty of grassland vegetation of different types present. The 'steppes' grasslands of Africa are world famous. Also, there are the glorious rainforests in the central and southern regions of this continent. The problem of deforestation is affecting the forest cover in Africa at a much faster rate than the rest of the world.
The Americas have been divided into two; North America lies in the Northern Hemisphere. It also partly falls into the Western Hemisphere. Some countries that are present in North America are United States of America, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. The characteristic feature of the physical geography of North America is that it has a vast plain region (Great Plains), high mountains (Rocky), low lying beaches, and also the perpetually snow topped region of Greenland. Since the number of countries in North America is much lesser than in the other continents, the number of cultures and languages spoken is much limited as compared to Asia.
South America lies in the southern and the western hemisphere. It houses countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, etc. The major resources in South America are its minerals. These include copper, iron ore, tin, silver, gold, etc. Biodiversity is another key factor in South America, with different types of plants and animals growing and living here. The topography of this continent includes record holding waterfalls (Angel Falls: highest), mountain ranges (Andes: longest), Atacama desert (driest) and others.
The southern most land mass of the earth is called the continent of Antarctica. It constitutes islands that are covered in ice and snow all year round, owing to the location of the South Pole within itself. The human population in Antarctica mostly includes annual tourists or researchers visiting the region.
Europe is the continent closest to Asia, being separated from it by the Ural Mountains and others in the east, and the Black Sea in the southeast. Some of the countries that it houses are Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Greece, etc. It experiences temperate climate, and gets its warmth from the westerlies that blow warm air towards the continent. Different types of flora and fauna flourish in Europe. Since the number of small countries is quite large in Europe, there is a multitude of ethnicities in the demographics of the continent.
Australia is the smallest continent in the world, but it is the largest island. A majority of the population of Australia resides in its mainland owing to the infertile land and the desert regions towards the outer area of the continent. It is home to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world's largest coral reef. The level of prosperity and human development is quite high in Australia. It boasts of economic independence, a decent life expectancy rate and good health and education facilities. The culture in Australia revolves around the arts, media, sports, wine, etc.
After that information on the seven continents, we'll leave you with an interesting fact about them. These giant land masses are constantly drifting away from each other at a very slow pace of a few centimeters per year due to the energy released by the molten core of the earth. Who knows what the world map might look like in a few decades!