The unintermitting word comes from the Latin continere “to hold together”, or continens will terra , the “continuous grounds”. With the clean direction, this term indicates vast a wide continuous of Ground to the Surface of the sphere. In its common meaning, the continental zone also includes the small islands at very short distance of the coasts, but not those separated by significant arms of the sea (like Corsica compared to the " continent"). From a scientific point of view, the continents also include the islands attached to the continental plates, like the British Isles compared to the Eurasia.
The parts of the world are continents in a widened direction. On the one hand, any island belongs to a part of the world since the parts of the world contain all the emerged grounds, but the islands do not form part of the continents (with the common direction, or the scientific direction) since their territory is not continuous with the remainder of the continent.
There is no single definition of a continent. This is why the cultures and sciences have lists different of continents. In general, a continent must be a great extent, made up of dry land with geological limits significant. Although some consider that there are only four or five continents, it is usually considered that there are of them six or Sept.
Two of the greatest oppositions relate to the Europe and the Asia (see Limites Europe) which could be unified (Eurasia) and on the North America and the South America which would form the America. Some geographers proposes to gather Europe, Asia and the Africa in a Eurafrasie.
The model in seven continents is often used in Western Europe and North America. The model in six continents (Eurasia) is very much used in North America, and is the model of choice for the scientific community. Lastly, the model linking Americas is used in Europe of the East and South America.
The Olympic Drapeau represents five interlaced rings symbolizing the five continents linked by the Olympic spirit. America is regarded here only as one single continent. The Antarctic is not counted there, because this continent temporarily is always only inhabited.
The islands are usually regarded as pertaining to the continent to which they are closest. For example, the the Canaries though Spanish are attached to Africa, the Balearic Islands belong to Europe and the islands of the Pacifique belong to the Oceania.
Systems of continents
GeologyFor the geologists, there exists on the surface of the Earth two distinct structural elements: the continental Crust, made essentially of Granite and associated rocks, and the oceanic Crust, of Basalt and Gabbro. Also, the limit between continental field and oceanic field are under sea surface: it is then question of “continental shelf” which is prolonged sometimes with several kilometers beyond the feature of coast. At the time of the last diluvial period (with the apogee of the Glaciation of Würm 20.000 years ago), in Western Europe, the continental shelf extended to several tens of kilometers in the west of the littoral actuel.
During the 20th century, it was accepted by the geologists that the continents move on the surface of planet, on a geological time scale. This process is known under the name of “continental drift” and is explained by the Plate tectonics .
The surface of the Ground consists of seven major tectonic plates (as well as the many minor ones). It is those which derived, separated and was assembled to form with the wire of time the continents which we know today.
Consequently, there were other continents in the geological past.
- List of the countries of the world
- Indian Sub-continent
- Old continent
Beats-smg: Žemīnā Be-X-old: Кантынэнт Simple: Continent Zh-classical: 大陸 Zh-min-nan: Tāi-lio̍k
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