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Continents of the World



World Continents Map
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Description : Map depicts seven Continents of the World with their political boundaries. Disclaimer




The Earth's land is separated into large landmasses called continents. One definition of the term continent describes distinct and separate large landmasses,like Australia and Antarctica, which are disconnected from any other land.
Other common practices allows a looser definition of the term, which defines continents based on additional factors, separating Europe from Asia or North America from South America.

The World Continent map shows seven continents, but there are other models that show six continents, five continents, or four continents, created by considering certain continents one entity rather than two entities.

The continental landmasses are concentrated more in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere in terms of area.

In terms of area, Asia leads the continents in size, followed by Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.

Division of Continents

The Isthmus of Suez connects the continents of Asia and Africa, the Isthmus of Panama joins North and South America. Comparing to the area of landmasses that these isthmuses join, both of those are quite narrow.

No isthmus or sea separates Asia from Europe, which explains reasoning behind the concept of Eurasia, that is Europe and Asia as a single continent. This is one of the six-continent models of the world. This view, held by some geographers, is generally only popular in Russia, some Eastern European countries and Japan.

The continents of North America and South America are usually considered separate continents, though earlier in history, they were viewed as single continents and were known collectively as America. Even today, some countries in South America consider the two to be one continent.

Another theory relating to the division of continents came as the four-continent model. In this model, continents are defined as discrete landmasses. According to the theory Asia, Europe and Africa form a single continent called Afro-Eurasia, and the total number of continents becomes four: Afro-Eurasia, America, Antarctica, and Australia.


Continent Models
7 ContinentsNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAntarcticaAfricaEuropeAsiaAustralia
6 ContinentsNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAntarcticaAfricaEurasiaAustralia
6 ContinentsAmericaAntarcticaAfricaEuropeAsia Australia
5 ContinentsAmericaAntarcticaAfricaEurasiaAustralia
4 ContinentsAmericaAntarcticaAfro-EurasiaAustralia

Continent statistics
ContinentArea(km²)Approx. population 2008DensityPeople (per km²)
Asia43,820,0003,879,000,00086.70
Africa30,370,000922,011,00029.30
NorthAmerica24,490,000528,720,58821.0
South America17,840,000382,000,00020.8
Antarctica13,720,0001,0000.00007
Europe10,180,000731,000,00069.7
Australia9,008,50032,000,0003.6

Oceans in the World
RankOceanRemark
1Pacific OceanSeparates Oceania and Asia from the Americas
2Atlantic OceanSeparates the Eurasia and Africa from Americas
3Indian OceanSpreaded upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia
4Southern OceanIt encircles Antarctica, considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans
5Arctic OceanA sea of the Atlantic, which washes upon northern North America & Eurasia and covers much of the Arctic

Variations of Continents
Other continental divisions include supercontinents and subcontinents.

Supercontinents
The term supercontinent is used to describe the landmasses with more than one craton or continental core. The examples are Columbia, Gondwana, Kenorland, Laurasia, Pangaea, and Rodinia. Eurasia is a contemporary example of a supercontinent.

Subcontinents
Some parts of a continent may fall on different tectonic plates from the rest. These are known as subcontinents. The Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula are some of the best examples of subcontinents.

Submerged Continents
Submerged continents are areas of continental crust that are mostly covered by the sea. One notable example is Zealandia, which is under the sea in New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Microcontinents
There are a number of islands located on sections of continental crust that have drifted away from the main landmass. These are too small to be considered continents, so they are referred to as microcontinents. Madagascar is the largest example of microcontinent.

Asia

The first thing that you would notice on a world continent map is the Asia. It is the largest and most populous continent in the world. Situated in the eastern and northern hemispheres, Asia has an overall area of 44,579,000 sq. km. (that constitute 8.6% of the total surface area of the earth) and a population of almost 4 billion people (60% of the human population of the world).

Asia is the continent of diversity. On one hand, it is the home to some of the richest and most developed economies in the world like Japan and Korea, but at the same time, it is also the home to some of the poorest countries in the world. The continent has the highest point on earth in the form of Mount Everest in the Himalayas. On the other hand, Asia is also the home to the lowest place on land in the form of the Dead Sea. The continent also has the widest varieties of plant and animal lives.

Following are some useful information on Asia:
Area44,579,000km²
Population3,879,000,000
Pop. density89/km2 (226/sq mi)
Countries47
Time ZonesUTC+2 to UTC+12

The Location
Asia is located to the east of the Ural Mountains and the Suez Canal, and south of the Caspian and Black seas and the Caucasus Mountains. On its east, there is Pacific Ocean, while the India Ocean lies to its south. The Arctic Ocean lies to the north of the continent, while on its west, there is Europe and the Mediterranean.

Geographical Region
Asia is divided into the following geographical region:

Central Asia
Iranian Plateau
East Asia
Far East
North Asia
South Asia (Indian Subcontinent)
Southeast Asia
Southwest Asia

The Climate
Due to its vast size, Asia sees a diverse variety of climates. The Asian climate is hugely influenced by the winds called monsoons, which flow regularly in the same direction during certain seasons. It flows from the north to east during winter, which causes cold and dry weather. During summer, the wind flows from the seas in the south to the southeast. The weather remains hot during this time. April to October is the time for rain in this continent. The eastern part of the continent experiences the heaviest rainfall. The amount of rainfall decreases as one goes away from the sea.

Africa
The second largest continent that you would find in a world continent map is the Africa. It is also the second most populous continent in the world after Asia. The continent is bordered by the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to the northeast, Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. Africa has 53 countries excluding the disputed territory in the Western Sahara. It also has a number of island groups.

Often described by the outsiders as the 'Dark Continent' or the 'Cradle of Mankind', Africa is immensely rich in mineral and natural resources. It is also the continent that boasts of rich variety of wildlife and biological resources, the preservation of which continues to be a challenge for conservationists from across the world. The continent is also the home to some of the poorest people on the planet. Many of the constituent countries in this continent are still undergoing the process of nation building to achieve integration with the rest of the world.

Following are some of the useful information about Africa:
Area30,221,532km²
Population1,000,010,000
Pop. density30.51/km2(about 80/sq mi)
Countries53
Time ZonesUTC-1 to UTC+4

The Climate
The climate of Africa is dominated by a warm and hot weather conditions. However, the humidity and rainfall dramatically vary in different places across the continent. As the equator runs through the middle of the continent, the temperatures remain on the higher side throughout the year. There are very little variations in temperature between summer and winter. However, the cooler regions of the continent can be described as the northwestern part, the highland areas of the east, and some parts of the south.

Though the forests of the Congo Basin as well as the coastal regions in the western part of the continent sees rainfalls throughout the year, but the rest of the continent experience one or two seasons of heavy rainfall separated by dry spells.

North America

North America is located in the northern and western hemisphere of the earth. Surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Arctic Ocean on the north, the North Pacific Ocean on the west, and the Caribbean Sea and the South America on the southeast, North America is the third largest continent after Asia and Africa with an overall area of about 24,709,000 sq. km. It also has a population of nearly 529 million people. You would find the shape of the northernmost part of this continent elongated. In fact Greenland appears much bigger in size than it is in the world continent map. Earth being a sphere, if we try to project it on a plane some distortion happens at the edges.

The majority of the areas of the North American continent are occupied by two of the world's most developed countries - the U.S. and Canada. This continent also has very rich mineral and other natural resources. Besides these, the various National Parks of this continent offers some of the most spectacular panoramas in the world.

Following are some of the useful information on North America:
Area24,709,000 km²
Population528,720,588 (July 2008 est.)
Pop. density22.9/km2 (59.3/sq mi)
Countries23
Time ZonesUTC-10 to UTC

The Climate
North America is the only continent in this world that has every kind of climate starting from dry to bitter cold of the Arctic to the steamy heat of the tropics. The continent also has some usual kind of climates, which cannot be found in other parts of the world. The interior of the Greenland remains covered by the ice and the temperature hardly rises above freezing. The treeless plain of the far north - the North American tundra only sees temperature rising above freezing during the summer only for a short duration. The rest of the continent remain cold during the winter and warn in the summer. Some parts of the continent may have mild winters and long hot summers. Other parts see short summers and harsh winters.

South America

The fourth-largest continent in the world, South America is located in the Western Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere. A small part of the continent is also located in the Northern Hemisphere. South America is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and north, the Caribbean Sean and North America on the northwest and the Pacific Ocean on the west. With an area of 17,840,000 sq. km, South America constitutes almost 3.5% of the Earth's surface. It is also the fifth most populous continent in the world after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America with an estimated population of more than 371,090,000.

Often referred to as Latin America, South America has the greatest north-south extension. The high mountains and the highland areas extend up to different elevation levels, which together contribute to its diverse climate.

Following are some of the useful information on South America:
Area17,840,000 km2 (6,890,000 sq mi)
Population385,742,554
Pop. density21.4 per km2 (55.4 per sq mi)
Countries13
Time ZonesUTC-2 to UTC-5

The Climate
The most parts of South America experience warm weather throughout the year. However, the climate of the continent varies a lot from places to places. The wide variety of climates in South America ranges from dry desert condition in the northern part of Chile to the heavy rain areas in the southwester coast of the continent. The tropical rain forest of the Amazon basin experiences steamy heat. On the other hand, cold air dominates the snow-capped Andean peaks.

Antarctica

It is the southernmost continent in the world. Located in the Antarctic region in the southern hemisphere, underlying the South Pole, Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Almost 98 percent of the continent is covered by ice with an average thickness of at least 1.6 km. It is also the coldest, windiest, and the driest continent in the Earth. On the world continent map, this continent is mostly shown in a distorted form as it is difficult to project its shape when we are plotting other continents in the same map. You can see the correct shape of this continent in Antarctica Map.

Antarctica is the only continent in the world where no permanent human residents can be found. Only cold-adapted floras and faunas can survive there. Penguins, Seals, Tundra Vegetation and several types of Algae can be found.

Following are some useful information on Antarctica:
Area (Overall)14,000,000km2 (5,405,428 sq mi)
(ice-free)280,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi)
(ice-covered)13,720,000 km2 (5,300,000 sq mi)

Europe

Europe is the second smallest continent in the world in terms of surface area with an area of 10,180,000 sq. km. However it is the third most populous continent with an estimated population of around 731,000,000. The continent is surrounded by the Black Sea and the connected waterways to the southeast, the Arctic Ocean and the various other water bodies to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Europe is separated from Asia in the east by the Ural River, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, besides the Black Sea to the southeast.

Despite its internal diversities of culture, language, customs, etc., Europe has come to represent a unique civilization and ethical values which had a tremendous influence on the rest of the world at different epochs of history. It is also the home to some of the most panoramic landscapes in the world.

Following are some useful information on Europe:
Area10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi)
Population731,000,000
Pop. density70/km2 (181/sq mi)
Countries50
Time ZonesUTC to UTC+5

The Climate
Most of the Europe sees mild weather caused by the winds from the Atlantic Ocean. However, there are some certain variations in the climate of Europe. The northern part of Europe sees long and colder winter and short and cooler summers than the other parts of the continent. The eastern part sees longer and colder winters and shorter and hotter summers than the west.

Australia

It is the smallest continents in the world. According to one theory, the continent Australia only includes the Australian mainland, not the nearby islands like New Guinea or Tasmania. However, another theory says, those islands have to be included into the continent as they share the same geological landmass. New Zealand is not considered as a part of the continent of Australia. It is rather a part of Zealandia - a submerged continent. The continent of Australia, along with Zealandia constitutes a region called Oceania or Australasia.

Following are some useful information on Australia:
Area8,468,300 km2
Population31,260,000 (estimated)
Pop. density3.7/km2
CountriesAustralia, Papua New Guinea, and portions of  Indonesia
Time ZonesGMT+10, GMT+9.30, GMT+8

The Climate
Being located in the tropics, the northern third of Australia sees a warm and hot climate throughout the year. The rest are located in the south of the tropic and hence experience mild or cool winters and warm summers.

You can learn about various continents in the world and their characteristics by going through various world continent maps provided by Mapsofworld.com. Mapsofworld.com also offers a wide variety of world maps, which will help you to know this world and its continents better.

ACOD~2012730
Last updated On:Aug 1, 2012


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