Difference between mainland and continent.

In the course of studying geography at school, students periodically come up with 2 concepts - continent and continent, which are used by teachers in relation to Africa, America or Australia. A child who is not indifferent to the subject, and even an adult, may be interested in the differences between these terms.


Mainland - it is a huge land mass washed by water. The interpretation of this concept by individual scientists clarifies that most of the continent is elevated above the level of the World Ocean. Some authors do not present a definition of this object without explaining that it consists of a continental or continental crust. The latter, in contrast to the oceanic, is three-layered and consists of a layer of basalts, granites and sedimentary rocks located on the asthenosphere, a semi-liquid, viscous upper layer of magma.

Initially, there was a single continent on Earth. First, Nuna. Then - Rodinia. Perhaps Pannotia. Each of the giants at one time fell apart and was going to a new supercontinent. The last "complete collection of continents" was Pangea. She began to crack at the seams at the end of the Triassic. First, Gondwana and Laurasia "parted and divided the property". Then Gondwana spread to 4 continents: emerald South America, hot yellow Africa, free-flowing prickly Australia and snow-white beauty Antarctica. Sometimes the Gondwana continents are referred to as the Southern Group. The commonality of their origin is confirmed by the general order of occurrence of rocks and the contour of the coastline. In some places, such as eastern South America and western Africa, they match up like a jigsaw puzzle.

In the Mesozoic, at the beginning of the Jurassic period, Mrs. Laurasia fell apart into 2 parts - the foundations of today's continents of North America and Eurasia. By this time, the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Tethys, the predecessor of the Pacific Ocean, had formed.

The reason for the ruptures, divisions and fragmentation of the super-continent was horizontal tectonic movements, which, by the way, have not stopped to this day.

At the heart of today's continents are ancient Precambrian platforms. For example, Australian, African-Arabian, or East European. In most cases, they are supplemented by geosynclinal belts of different mountain building eras and young Paleozoic plates.

All continents of the Earth, including the islands, occupy only 29% of the surface of our planet, that is, one third, yielding the primacy of the water area of ​​the World Ocean. Today there are exactly 6 continents on Earth. If we arrange them in size, then Eurasia with its 54.6 million km2 will be in the first place, in the second - Africa with its 30.3 million km2, in the third - North America with its 24.4 million km2, in fourth - South America with its 17.8 million km², the fifth - Antarctica with its 14.1 million km² and the last - Australia with its 7.7 million km².

Modern continents


Continent is a large land mass, washed on all sides by water. Most of the continent is elevated above the world's oceans, the smaller, peripheral, submerged in water and is called the shelf and continental slope. The fact is that the continent and the mainland are synonymous words, therefore, in relation to Africa and its 5 comrades, both terms can be equally used.

Conclusions TheDifference.ru

  1. The only difference between the continent and the continent is the spelling and sound of these terms. The semantic load of both words is the same. Therefore, there is no difference between mainland and continent.