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The Seven Continents

by Beth Rowen
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A continent is defined as a large unbroken land mass completely surrounded by water, although in some cases continents are (or were in part) connected by land bridges. The seven continents are North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. The island groups in the Pacific are often called Oceania but this name does not imply that scientists consider them the remains of a continent.

Continent Approximate area Highest point Lowest point
Africa 11,608,000 square miles (30,065,000 sq km) Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: 19,340 feet (5,895 m) Lake Assal, Djibouti: 512 feet (156 m) below sea level
Antarctica 5,100,000 square miles (13,209,000 sq km) Vinson Massif: 16,066 feet (4,897 m) Ice covering: 8,327 feet (2,538 m) below sea level
Asia (includes the Middle East) 17,212,000 square miles (44,579,000 sq km) Mount Everest, bordering China and Nepal: 29,035 feet (8,850 m) Dead Sea, bordering Israel and Jordan: 1,349 feet (411 m) below sea level
Australia (includes Oceania) 3,132,000 square miles (8,112,000 sq km) Mount Kosciusko, Australia: 7,316 feet (2,228 m) Lake Eyre, Australia: 52 feet (16 m) below sea level
Europe (Ural Mountains divide Europe from Asia) 3,837,000 square miles (9,938,000 sq km) Mount Elbrus, bordering Russia and Georgia: 18,510 feet (5,642 m) Caspian Sea, bordering Russia and Kazakhstan: 92 feet (28 m) below sea level
North America (includes Central America and the Caribbean) 9,449,000 square miles (24,474,000 sq km) Mount McKinley, Alaska, U.S.: 20,320 feet (6,194 m) Death Valley, California, U.S.: 282 feet (86 m) below sea level
South America 6,879,000 square miles (17,819,000 sq km) Mount Aconcagua, Argentina: 22,834 feet (6,960 m) Valdes Peninsula, Argentina: 131 feet (40 m) below sea level
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