To identify the world's continents and oceans.
The solid portion of the earth is called the Lithosphere. It comprises the rocks of the earth’s crust and the thin layers of soil that contain nutrient elements which sustain organisms. There are two main divisions of the earth’s surface. The large land masses are known as the continents and the huge water bodies are called the ocean basins. All the oceans of the world are connected with one another. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: The world continets and oceans
There are seven major continents. These are separated by large water bodies. These continents are – Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica.
Asia is the largest continent. It covers about one third of the total land area of the earth. The continent lies in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Tropic of Cancer passes through this continent. Asia is separated from Europe by the Ural mountains on the west.
Europe is much smaller than Asia. The continent lies to the west of Asia. The Arctic Circle passes through it. It is bound by water bodies on three sides.
Africa is the second largest continent after Asia. The Equator or 00 latitude runs almost through the middle of the continent. A large part of Africa lies in the Northern Hemisphere.It is the only continent through which the Tropic of Cancer, the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn pass.
North America is the third largest continent of the world. It is linked to South America by a very narrow strip of land called the Isthmus of Panama. The continent lies completely in the Northern and Western Hemisphere.
South America lies mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. The Andes, the world's longest mountain range, runs through its length from north to south. South America has the world’s largest river, the Amazon.
Australia is the smallest continent that lies entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. It is surrounded on all sides by the oceans and seas. It is called an island continent.
Antarctica, completely in the Southern Hemisphere, is a huge continent. The South Pole lies almost at the centre of this continent. As it is located in the South Polar Region, it is permanently covered with thick ice sheets.
Oceans are the major part of the hydrosphere. They are all interconnected. The ocean waters are always moving. The three chief movements of ocean waters are the waves, the tides and the ocean currents.
The five major oceans are the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean. It is spread over one-third of the earth. Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the earth, lies in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean is almost circular in shape. Asia, Australia North and South Americas surround it.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest Ocean in the world. It is ‘S’ shaped. It is flanked by the North and South Americas on the western side, and Europe and Africa on the eastern side. The coastline of the Atlantic Ocean is highly indented.
The Indian Ocean is the only ocean named after a country, that is, India. The shape of the ocean is almost triangular. In the north, it is bound by Asia, in the west by Africa and in the east by Australia. The Southern Ocean encircles the continent of Antarctica and extends northward to 60 degrees south latitude.
The Southern Ocean encircles the continent of Antarctica and extends northward to 60 degrees south latitude.
The Arctic Ocean is located within the Arctic Circle and surrounds the North Pole. It is connected with the Pacific Ocean by a narrow stretch of shallow water known as Berring strait. It is bound by the northern coasts of North America and Eurasia.