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What is a Continent?

Geographers would say continents are large, continuous landmasses usually separated by water, while geologists might say continents are ancient, floating slabs of granite rock about 25 miles (40 kilometers) thick. Most people recognize seven continents—Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia, from largest to smallest—although sometimes Europe and Asia are considered a single continent, Eurasia. Interestingly, all continents except Antarctica are wedge-shaped, wider on top and thinner on bottom, and more than two-thirds of the world's continental area lies north of the Equator.

Continents Features
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Explore the land where humankind is believed to have evolved millions of years ago. Get maps, facts, and photos.
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Learn more about the highest, driest, and coldest continent. Get maps, facts, and photos.
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Still overwhelmingly rural and poor, Asia faces great challenges. Yet its natural resilience endures. Get maps, facts, and photos.
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From the vast dry bushland of western Australia to the dense rain forest of the tiny Solomon Islands, Oceania also includes mountains, jungles, and swamplands.
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Geographically small, Europe is home to two-thirds of a billion people representing a shifting mosaic of cultures, languages, and borders.
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Learn more about this continent of immigrants, and the ways its people continue to change the land.
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From the majestic Andean mountain chain to the mighty Amazon River, South America has nearly unlimited potential.

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See how Lipton is dedicated to sustainable agriculture. View pictures from Boyd Matson's trip to Africa.
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National Geographic Store
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Visit the National Geographic online store for DVDs, books, travel gear, fun games, and much more.
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