North America – Map and Facts

North America covers an area of about 9.5 million square miles or 16.5% of Earth’s land area and 4.8 of its total surface. It occupies the northern portion generally referred to as the New World. It is shaped roughly like a triangle, having its base in the north and apex in the south. This continent is bounded on the North by the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean by the East, Carribean Sea by the South, and North Pacific Ocean by the West.

Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer, and navigator was one of the earliest who explored the New World thus America was derived from. America was only applied to the southern half of the continent at first then soon designated to the whole landmass.

North America

Geography

The northern half of North America is mostly covered by Canada. The northeastern portion is occupied by Greenland and northwestern by Alaska. North America is divided into at least 5 physiographic regions; Canadian Shield, Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Interior Lowlands, and North American Cordillera. These define North American landforms into distinct regions. Canadian Shield or Laurentian Plateau, composed of igneous rocks resultant from long volcanic history stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean covering over half of Canada. The Appalachian Mountains in Eastern North America first formed about 480 million years ago ranges mostly in the United States but extends into southeastern Canada. Atlantic Coastal Plain is a region of low relief that extends 2,200 miles from New York Bight southward to Georgia/Florida section of Eastern Continental Divide. Interior Lowlands extends down from Mackenzie Valley to Atlantic Coastal Plain. The North American Cordillera is a belt of mountains with plateaus and basins to which some were formed as recently as 100-65 MA.

The only land connection of North America is South America by the narrow of Isthmus of Panama. Denali (Mount McKinley) is the continent’s highest point rising at 6,190 meters above sea level. Death Valley is the lowest at 86 meters below sea level

History

There have been many theories regarding the origins of early human population in North America that even the indigenous people of this continent themselves have many creation stories. In the Pre-Columbian era, many different communities lived in several culture areas. It is believed that Inuit people of the high Arctic came to this continent much later than any native groups.

American Revolution had a great impact across North America that it directly led to the creation of the United States of America. American Revolutionary War was an important feud that touched all corners of this region. As Spain’s hold on Mexico was slumping, independence was given in 1810 by Miguel Hidalgo and it started the Mexican War of Independence.

Demography

North America is ethnically diverse. The three main groups are Caucasian, Mestizos, and Blacks. The less numerous groups come from Indigenous Americans and Asians. Languages of North America does not only reflect the continents indigenous people but the European colonization too. Dominant languages are English, Spanish, and to a lesser extent French. English is widely used in Canada, United States, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. Mexico and all of Central America apart from Belize speaks Spanish more than they do with English. Canada, especially in the Quebec and Saint Pierre and Miquelon has French as the dominant language. It is also spoken in other parts along with French-based creole languages.

Population

Geology

Being the third-largest in the world, North American geology is a matter of regional geology. Units and processes for Geology are studied on a large scale to reach an amalgamated picture of the development of the continent. More than 50% of Canadian geology consists of Precambrian rocks that have been above sea level since the Palaeozoic era. Mineral resources here are diverse and extensive that across the Canadian shield are large iron, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, and uranium reserves. Recently, large diamond concentrations have been developed in the Arctic as well making Canada the world’s largest producers. Geology is active in Central America with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occurring from time to time.

Europe – Map, Facts, Land, People, & Economy

Bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south is the continent of Europe located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. The second smallest continent, it covers about 3.9 million square miles or 2% or Earth’s surface. It is divided into fifty sovereign states with the Russian Federation having the largest and most populous.

Ancient Greece in Europe was the birthplace of Western Civilization. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, it controlled at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and the majority of Asia. Two world wars and economic depression drew most European nations that dominated the early 20th century. Europe has a continually evolving politics factored by the historical events within the continent.

Europe

Geography

The continent of Europe is a gathering of linked peninsulas and nearby islands. Thus, it is called the peninsula of peninsulas. Europe and Scandinavia, divided by the Baltic Sea are the two largest peninsulas and three smaller are Iberia, Italy, and Balkans. Europe shows great variation of land relief within comparatively small areas. Regions in the south are mountainous, while northward the terrain descends from the Alps, Pyrenees, and Carpathians from hilly uplands to low, broad northern plains. Iberia and Italy which are sub-regions contain their particular intricate features where the relief encloses plateaus, river valleys, and basins that obscure the overall trend. Iceland and the British Isles, both special cases were a result of North Atlantic volcanic formation for the former and latter consist of upland areas used to be joined to the mainland only to be cut off by increasing sea levels.

Population

Climate

Although lying mainly in the temperate climate zones, Europe is being subjected to prevailing westerlies. Cold and dry weather is brought by Siberian High from the east. Parts of central and eastern Europe have marginal Oceanic/Continental Climate and are lay open to more frequent snowfalls. Southern Europe has a Mediterranean climate while Western Europe’s is intensely conditioned by the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is said to be “Europe’s Central Heating” as it makes the climate warmer than it would otherwise be.

Economy

With more than 740 million people in 50 different countries, Europe as a whole is the largest economy in the world outdoing the Americas by more than 2 trillion. Its trillions in assets under management represented more than one-third of the world’s wealth.

Demographics

Figures of the population of Europe depend on the boundaries of Europe. Within the standard geographical boundaries, it is comprised of 737 million. Population growth in Europe is rather minimal with minimal age comparatively high. European countries saw an increase in immigration after World War II. Ethnic Groups / People of Europe are at 87. 33 forms the majority of the population while 54 are of ethnic minorities.

Culture

As Paul Valery stated, “The idea of culture, of intelligence, of great works, has for us a very ancient connection with the idea of Europe.” When someone says culture, literature, music, philosophy, and fine arts, nothing best comes to mind than Europe. Their culture has been the cradle for many cultural revolutions. It is best defined as a series of overlapping cultures. As hard as the European Unions try to identify a common cultural value, they just can’t and every time, it just turn out to be a highly controversial issue.

Tourism

With the richness of Europe’s culture, tourists are drawn in to visit the perceived glamour and sophistication. With 1.3 billion tourist arrivals tallied by UN in 2017, it is expected to surpass previous records despite the frustration in tourism. Many anti-tourism demonstrations are held in many cities throughout Europe mainly sending out messages that tourism kills Mallorca.

South America Map | Climate, Location & Facts

South America also considered as a subcontinent of the Americas is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere with a small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the fourth largest continent with an area of 6.8 million square miles. The population is the 5th amongst the 7 continents at nearly more than 420 million. Majority of the population live near the continent’s western or eastern coasts.

The long history of colonialism, the majority of South Americans speak Spanish. Indigenous people’s interaction with European conquerors and immigrants was the basis of the continent’s cultural and ethnic outlook. South America has been home to many interesting species of animals. The rainforests of Amazon has made this continent one of the most biodiverse. The export of manufactured goods and natural resources is what South America relies on. In terms of politics, all South American countries are presidential republics except for Peru which is semi-presidential republic and Suriname, a parliamentary republic.

South America

Geography

Many diverse regions and climates contain the geography of South Africa. It is a continent forming the southern portion of the landmass of the Americas, south, and east of the Panama-Colombia border or south and east of the Panama Canal by some. This continent includes several islands most of which belong to countries within.

Geographically, South America’s structure is deceptively simple for a huge size landmass. It is often compared to a massive bowl owing to its flat interior almost ringed by mountains.

This continent is home to the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall; Angel Falls in Venezuela; highest single drop waterfall Kaieteur Falls in Guyana; the largest river, the Amazon River; longest mountain range, which is the Andes; the driest non-polar place on Earth, which is the Atacama Desert; the largest rainforest, the Amazon rainforest; the highest capital city, La Paz, Bolivia; the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, which is Lake Titicaca; as well as the world’s southernmost permanently inhabited community, Puerto Toro, Chile.

Cities in South America

Geology

South America’s history of geology is summarized in three developmental stages that each corresponds to a major division in time. Precambrian Time characterized by a complex series of amalgamations of steady blocks of protocontinental crust called Cratons is the first stage. The second stage, the Paleozoic Era, cratons and material accreted to the formation first of the supercontinent Gondwana and the larger Pangea. The last stage, the present continental structure occurred in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. This last stage includes the split-up of the subcontinents Gondwana and Pangea, the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean and the generation of the Andean cordillera.

Climate

As the most extensive part of this continent is in the equatorial zone, this region has more areas of equatorial plains than any other region. In its latitudes, winters are moderate and summers are warmer than in North America.

Demography

With over 420 million inhabitants and population growth to a rate of about 0.6% per year, there are still several areas of sparse demographics such as tropical forests, Atacama Desert and Icy portions of Patagonia. The inhabitants are formed by progenies of Europeans, Africans, and indigenous people. Mestizos presence varies in composition by region. Brazil also has a minor populace of Asians. Spanish and Portuguese with approximately 200 million speakers each are the most spoken languages in South America. While Spanish is the national language in most countries of South America, Brazil remains to have Portuguese as its national language.

Culture

The culture of South America stems from a various set of cultural traditions dating back to pre-Colombian civilizations and indigenous tribes. While many countries here were formed rather recently, indigenous tribes had long been established in this continent. Even before Spanish and Portuguese colonialists came. Large amounts if emigration has contributed to the continents rich culture. In cuisine, food varies with each region so there is something interesting to find in every country. Ancient civilizations to indigenous tribes have a wide variety of art with most cities having many museums to choose from. The European influence is also felt in South American architecture mostly in cities of Buenos Aires and in colonial towns.

Tourism

Many significant countries from this continent rely on their source of income in Tourism as it has increasingly become active. The colorful and loud culture, natural wonders, historical sceneries contribute to why it attracts millions of tourists every year.

Pacific Ocean | Description, Location, Map, & Facts

The largest and deepest of World Oceans is the Pacific Ocean. It extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Antarctic and is bounded by Asia and Australia. At 63.8 million square miles, it covers about 46% of Earth’s hydrosphere making it larger than all of Earth’s land area. Pacific ocean detaches Asia and Australia from the Americas. The average depth is 4,280 m (14,040 ft) and the maximum is Marianas Trench which goes deep to 10,911 m (35,797 ft).

The Pacific Ocean, as most of the world’s oceans, was formed millions of years ago with unique topography. Because of its large size, it plays an important role in weather patterns around the globe.

Pacific Ocean History

There is no identifiable time when the Pacific Ocean was developed this is because the ocean floor continuously recycles itself as it moves. The latest claims are that the oldest known Pacific Ocean floor is about 180 million years old.

Human migrations have occurred in the Pacific in prehistoric times. Austronesian people in Taiwan practiced long-distance canoe travel. They spread themselves and their languages to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia.

Famous explorer, Ferdinand Magellan named this ocean as the Pacific Ocean in 1520. It was called “pacific” (adj. peaceful) due to the calmness of the water at the time.

Geography

Pacific ocean lies between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east, the Southern Ocean to the South, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. The area surrounding the Pacific Ocean is often called the Pacific Ring of Fire. This region has the world’s largest area of volcanism and earthquakes.

Water Characteristics

Temperatures in the Pacific Ocean vary from freezing in the poleward areas to about 25 to 30° C. Its salinity also varies by latitude. The nearer the water is by the equator, the less salty it is compared to those found in the mid-latitudes. That is due to the profuse equatorial precipitation throughout the year.

Climate

As it was to the salinity, climate also relies greatly on latitude along with the presence of landmasses and types of air moving around or over its waters. Sea surface temperatures play a vital role because it affects the availability of moisture in various regions. The climate is tropical, wet, and warm throughout most of the year near the equator. Far north Pacific and South Pacific are milder and have greater seasonal variances in weather patterns.

Geology

The Pacific Ocean is exposed to geological activities such as volcanism and earthquakes since their seafloors sit above subduction zones where the rims of the Earth are pressed down against others after a collision. Hotspot volcanic activities also happen in some areas where magma is forced up from the Earth’s mantle through the crust creating underwater volcanoes that eventually form island and seamounts.

Economy

As the Pacific Ocean covers 28% of the world’s surface, it is home to diverse fish, plants, and other animals. It plays a major role in the world economy because it provides easy access to ship goods from Asia to North America and vice versa. The fishing industry is also happening to the large portion of the Pacific Ocean. It is also a rich source of natural resources, including oil and other minerals.

Antarctic Ocean | Location, Map, Depth, & Facts

Antarctic Ocean – Comprising the southernmost waters of the World Ocean is the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean or Austral Ocean. It is the fourth largest of the 5 oceans. This is where cold, northward flowing waters from the Antarctic mix with warmer subantarctic waters.

This ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60° S. For some time, the only oceans recognized by geographic circles were Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. However, the IHO (International Hydrographic Organization) settled this debate through a 2000 publication that affirmed, named and defined the Antarctic Ocean. Limits of Oceans and Seas (S-23), published the names and locations of seas and oceans. Its third edition in 2000 confirmed the existence of the Antarctic Ocean as the 5th world ocean.

Antarctic Ocean

Antarctic Ocean

Geography

This Ocean lies approximately 7.8 million square miles and about the double the size of USA. Its lowest point is 23,737 feet below sea level in the South Sandwich Trench.

Waters of this Ocean differs from the waters in other oceans making it a reason to consider it as a separate ocean. Its waters get carried around fairly rapidly due to Antarctic Circumpolar Current which circulates around Antarctica.

Climate

The Antarctic Ocean often experiences cyclone like storms and it results from the stark contrast in the middle of the ice packs and ocean waves. They are very harsh for any sailors or marine vessels that happen to be caught in their path.

Water surface temperatures vary from -2° to 10° C. In winter, the ocean freezes away to 65° S in Pacific and 55° S in the Atlantic sector. This lowers surface temperatures well below 0°C. Continual intense drainage at some coastal points, however, keep the shoreline ice-free throughout the year.

Biodiversity

Marine animals present in Antarctic Ocean rely directly and indirectly on phytoplankton. Sealife like penguins, blue whales, orcas, colossal squids, and fur seals can be found here. There are also a few fish species existent. Most species found are snailfish, cod ice fish, and eelpout. They account for almost 9/10 of the nearly 320 described fish species in Antarctic Ocean. Birds can be found on the rocky shores of mainland Antarctica. It provides nesting space for over 100 million birds every spring. This includes albatrosses, petrels, skuas, gulls, and terns. Flightless penguins are located in Southern Hemisphere while 4 of the other penguin species live on the mainland and its close offshore islands.

Economy

Producing more or less 119,898 tons in 1998 alone, fisheries are the largest amount of exports in the Antarctic Ocean. This industry relies on open entry to ports along the which, during the winters months are unfortunately limited because of ice build-up.

Environmental Issues

Antarctic Ocean confronts distinct ecological hazards to its natural marine ecosystems. The first is the constant ultraviolet radiation that courses into the ocean from the Antarctic ozone hole causing the productivity of phytoplankton to reduce. Illegal and unreported fishing moreover affects the sustainability of stocks. International agreements regarding the world’s oceans include the and are subject-specific to this region. Some of which are; International Whaling Commission, Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals, and Convention of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Antarctic Treaty protects the division of the globe 60°S thus, claims to Antarctica and all islands surrounding are suspended.