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A continent (continent) is defined as a large contiguous mainland mass surrounded by the sea. Including the associated islands and including the shelf (0 to 200 meters below sea level) and the continental slope (200 to 2400 meters below sea level). The largest continent is Asia with an area of ​​around 44.4 million square kilometers. The continents of the earth make up 29.3 percent of the earth's surface, the rest are occupied by the oceans, seas and islands.

Classifications and number of continents

1996 Classifications and number of continentsThere are different divisions of the continents on earth. Europe and Asia are sometimes seen as one continent (Eurasia), but mostly separated. America is also considered by some to be a continent and divided by others into North and South America. It is also controversial whether Antarctica is a continent. Africa and Australia/Oceania, on the other hand, are recognized as continents.

There are historically and politically motivated attempts to separate Central America or the Middle East as separate continents. It is also argued for combining the islands of the Pacific Ocean into one continent of Oceania.

Different divisions of the continents:

4 continents: Antarctica, America, Eurafrasia, Oceania

5 continents: Antarctica, America, Eurasia, Africa, Oceania

5 continents: America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia

6 continents: Antarctica, America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia

6 continents: Antarctica, North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Oceania

7 continents: Antarctica, North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia

The ancient continent of Pangea

According to a geotectonic theory that goes back to Alfred Wegener, there was originally only one contiguous land mass on earth, the so-called Pangea continent. This primary continent is said to have existed until the early Paleozoic Era and then to have broken apart in the Mesozoic Era. America thus separated from Eurasia and Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Antarctica from the African mainland bloc. Where the drifting clods pressed against each other, fold mountains emerged.

Research has largely confirmed the theory since the 1960s. It is the basis for today's theory of plate tectonics. Information about the original location of the continents is obtained primarily from fossil finds and from the course of mountain ridges. Further indications result from the fact that the direction of the earth's magnetic field is impressed into the solidifying rock as iron-containing magma cools down. From this evidence it can be deduced where the continental plates were originally connected to each other.

Two noteworthy geological tectonic models are derived from this.

Geological models of the continents:

8 continents: Antarctic plate, North American plate, South American plate, Eurasian plate, Arab plate, African plate, Indian plate, Australian plate

7 continents: Antarctica, North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, India, Australia.

Curiosities of Asian countries

Most populous country in Asia

The China, and is the most populous country in the world, is located in the continent that also has this rating. It is the largest country in East Asia with a population of approximately 1,379,302,771 inhabitants, in a territory of just over 9 million km2. See more on Countryaah.

The country's population density is approximately 139 people per square kilometer. Then, about a fifth of the world population lives in the country. The accelerated population growth caused the government to implement birth control policies in the country in order to contain the increase.

Largest country in Asia territorially

On the Asian continent, is the country with the largest area in the world: Russia. The country has transcontinental territory, located in the Eurasia region. It covers an area of ​​approximately 17,075,400 square kilometers, which corresponds to a ninth of the planet's continental surface.

Low economic development country in Asia

The Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries of the Asian continent. Its economy is based on agriculture and livestock. The country has very high inflation, which hinders its development. Afghanistan was considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world, especially for women, according to a survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Richest country in Asia

The richest country in the world is found on the Asian continent: Qatar. According to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the country has a GDP per capita (Gross Domestic Product per inhabitant) of approximately US $ 124,930, being also considered, by Forbes, one of the most developed countries in Asia.

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