7 Continents

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Overview of the seven continents. The seven continents are Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica and Australia. Pangaea was the first landmass that began to break apart about 200 million years ago. To learn more about the seven continents visit: http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/

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7 Continents

  1. 1. THE SEVEN CONTINENTS EXPLORING THE SEVEN CONTINENTS HTTP://WWW.WHATARETHE7CONTINENTS.COM/
  2. 2. OVERVIEW How many continents are there? Actually, people argue about how many continents exist! Some people think that continents should be separated by water. Others, though, think the earth’s plates should decide what parts of land can be called “continents.” However, usually, we talk about seven continents, which are large areas of land. Each of these huge land masses has different cultural and geographical traits. Some continents are separated by water, even if it is just a small body of water. Some continents are separated by large mountain ranges. This should help explain why our seven continents are Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/freecoloring-map/
  3. 3. AFRICA Let’s start with Africa, since scientists think that this is where people originally came from. This continent is very hot—the hottest place on the planet is here. So, you shouldn't be surprised that the biggest desert in the world, the Sahara Desert, calls Africa home. The longest river in the world, the Nile, runs through Egypt and the Sudan. Then it goes all the way down to Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa. Africa’s highest mountain is Mt. Kilimanjaro. Over one billion people live on this very hot continent. However, not all places are hot. Many coastal cities and mountainous areas offer cooler places for people to live. Many people in Africa speak more than one language. They have over 1,000 to choose from! Also, people in some countries speak English, French or Portuguese. South Africa has a large English-speaking population, for example. Africa has some very unique things. It has 95% of the diamonds in the world and almost half the world’s gold. Also, you can only find giraffes, zebras and other animals here. Madagascar, an island just a little bigger than France, has the only lemurs you can watch go about their business during the daytime. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/africa-continent/
  4. 4. EUROPE North of Africa, Europe actually has no deserts at all and is much cooler in general. Most of us know about England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany, which are located in Western Europe. In Eastern Europe, you can find countries like Poland, the eastern part of Russia, the Ukraine and Romania. All up, about 700 million people live here. This includes everything up to the Ural Mountains in Russia, where Asia starts. To the South, the Mediterranean Sea separates the continent from Africa. The Scandinavian countries in the North have cold, snowy climates. The Alps, a large chain of jagged mountains, run through eight different countries. Many famous European cities have rivers running through them, like the Seine River in Paris, the Thames River in London and the Danube, which runs through many different cities and countries. Now, most of the countries of Europe belong to the European Union (the EU) so the people can travel and trade freely in all the EU countries. All 28 EU members all use the same money, the Euro. Some countries, like Switzerland, decided not to join the EU. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/europe/
  5. 5. ASIA Nowadays, many people are paying attention to Asia. It makes sense: Asia is the largest continent and it contains 60% of the world’s population! China alone is home to over one billion people. With so many people, it’s no wonder that Asians have a wide variety of cultures, religions, languages and lifestyles. In Northern Asia, places like Japan, China and Korea have cold winters and hot summers. In the South, in countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, tropical climates produce hot, humid conditions. A huge part of Russia is in Asia, including Siberia, home to the coldest inhabited places on Earth. The highest mountains in the world thrust up between China, India and Nepal and continue into Pakistan. Several people have even died trying to climb the highest one, Mount Everest. Also, so much water drains off of the glaciers in this region that the Mekong, the Ganges, the Yangtze and other major rivers in Asia would dry up without it. That would be horrible, since Asia’s cities are growing, and many “megacities” are sprouting up. Parts of Asia also have some large volcanoes and experience frequent earthquakes and form part of the Ring of Fire near the Pacific Ocean. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/asia-continent/
  6. 6. NORTH AMERICA Since Europeans discovered them at the same time, North and South America sometimes share the common name “the Americas.” However, the Isthmus of Panama divides them into two continents. North America includes the Arctic, Canada, The United States, Mexico and Central America. It also includes Greenland. More than half a billion people live in this part of the world. The Atlantic separates it from Europe and the Pacific separates it from Asia. Among all the continents, only North America contains all the different types of climate zones, from arctic to tropical. Mexico City has the largest population in North America, although places like New York City and Los Angeles are not far behind. The Rocky Mountains run 3,000 miles through western Canada and the United States. Mexico boasts its own large Sierra Madre ranges, too. The Mississippi River measures over 2,000 miles, and connects with the Missouri River, making it the largest river system on the continent. A fun fact about the Americas: a lot of the food we think of as common in Europe and Asia, like hot peppers, corn and tomatoes originated here and only got to Europe and Asia after Europeans brought them back from here. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/north-american-continent/
  7. 7. SOUTH AMERICA Just to the south of Panama, South America stretches out on its spine, the Andes Mountains—the highest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas. Just to the west of the mountains, though, is the driest hot desert on Earth, the Atacama Desert. Most of the region exhibits tropical weather, but don’t forget that the parts at the bottom are not so far from Antarctica and can get quite cold. Some islands near Chile and Argentina even have penguins some times of the year! The largest country in South America, Brazil, also hosts the largest river in the world when measured by the amount of water it contains—the Amazon. On the coast, though, São Paulo holds more people than any other city in South America. But it is Venezuela that draws visitors to the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls. Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world, sits up in Bolivia. Most of the almost 400 million people in South America speak Spanish, while Brazilians speak their own style of Portuguese. In Suriname people can speak Dutch, but all over the continent native languages still function as the day-to-day languages of communication for many people. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/south-america/
  8. 8. ANTARCTICA Antarctica might be the strangest continent in the world since nobody really lives there. It is just too cold and barren. The only people who get to stay there for any amount of time are scientists or people who support the scientists’ work in some way. To go to the home of the South Pole, scientists and researchers have to take everything they need with them. If they decide to stay through the winter, they can’t leave for several months. Three-quarters of the world’s ice resides here. In some places the ice can get as thick as two miles down. Despite all this ice surrounded by water, geologists consider Antarctica a desert, since it gets almost no rain during the year, just 5 centimeters a year. What it does get is lots of light and lots of darkness—about half a year of only light or dark at a time! You can imagine that this is why most plants find it nearly impossible to live here. The penguins and seals that live here are used to it, though. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/antarctica-continent/
  9. 9. AUSTRALIA The last continent on the list, Australia, does have the distinction of being the only island continent and it is mostly one country--Australia. Australia has the lowest elevation of any inhabited continent and is also the smallest of all seven. Not many people live here, though, since the large area in the center of Australia experiences very high temperatures and almost no rainfall. Of the more than 30 million people who live on the mainland and the surrounding islands, most stay near the coastal areas. Australia’s wildlife stands out as some of the most unique in the world. The only wild kangaroos live here, for example. Also, the island’s insects and animals have developed potent poisons to ward off enemies. Australia contains the most poisonous jellyfish, snake and one of the most dangers spiders in the world. Even the cute platypus has a poisonous spike that can be lethal. This is the only continent where people live that is completely in the Southern Hemisphere. The world’s largest reef, the Great Barrier Reef, also cleaves to the coast for over 1,000 miles. Inland, Ayers Rock, or Uluru, juts up from the Outback and has become an iconic image of Australia. http://www.whatarethe7continents.com/australia/
  10. 10. THE ONE CONTINENT THEORY—PANGAEA Some scientists think that all of these continents used to be joined together as a single landmass, called Pangaea. Scientists first thought this since they noticed that the continents and plates were moving. Then the continents would have separated about 200 million years ago. This breaking up took place in stages, according to the theory. Another reason scientists think the continents might have been connected has to do with fossils. Some animals would not have been able to travel so far across the oceans to get to distant continents. Since they do live on such far away continents, scientists theorize that they must have crossed by land from one continent to the next before the continents separated. Although scientists still are not 100% sure, you can take a look at the maps yourself and see how some continents seem to line up, like South America and Africa.

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