What Is a Continent and How Many Continents Does the Earth Have, Six or Seven?

Continents are usually defined as large, continuous, discrete masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water.

Traditionally, there are seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

But there are just six distinct land masses because Europe and Asia lie on top of a single tectonic plate, called Eurasia.

The dividing line between the continents of Europe and Asia is usually the Ural Mountains in western Russia.

The seven-continent model is usually taught in China and most English-speaking countries.

The six-continent combined-Eurasia model is preferred by the geographic community, Russia, the former states of the USSR, and Japan.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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