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Tags geography , Land Mass

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Old 15th February 2021, 01:13 PM   #1
Vixen
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Why is the World's Land Mass mostly in the North?

Why is the larger part of the world's land mass mostly in the north?


Credit for map: You are free to use the above map for educational and similar purposes (fair use); please refer to the Nations Online Project.

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The Americas
The two continents of the Americas, North America, with the world's largest island Greenland, and South America. The Isthmus of Panama connects North and South America.

Africa
The continent of Africa, which includes Madagascar, the fourth-largest island on the planet.

Eurasia
The continent of Eurasia, which is home to the geopolitical entities of Europe and Asia. The most conventional borders between Europe and Asia are along the Ural Mountains, the Caucasus Mountains, and at the Bosporus (Strait of Istanbul).

Asia is further subdivided into the Middle East (Western Asia), Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Maritime Southeast Asia. Asia includes the subcontinents of Arabia (Arabian Peninsula) and India.

Australia/Oceania
Oceania isn't a real continent, a contiguous area of land surrounded by ocean. Oceania is a geographic region that includes the scattered islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean, plus Australasia, a vague term used to describe the combined area of Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea (island). Australia is considered to be an island country and a continent situated in the southern hemisphere.

Antarctica
Antarctica, as a continent is, in many ways, an exception. Earth's southernmost continent is currently uninhabited, beside a handful of hard-boiled scientists, which share the place with emperor penguins, New Zealand sea lions, and elephant seals. The climate is very hostile to almost any kind of life. It is the coldest, windiest, highest (on average), and driest continent. Mount Vinson is the highest mountain in Antarctica, at 4,892 meters (16,050 feet). On the surface of the continent, no crops will grow on its frozen four kilometer-thick ice sheet.

Arctic
The northernmost point of the Earth, the North Pole, where the Earth's axis meets the surface, is not located on a landmass, but on the Arctic polar ice cap, the surface of the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean. Therefore, the Arctic is not considered to be a continent. Parts of the northern regions of Europe, Asia (Russia), and North America (Canada and Greenland) are located within the Arctic Circle.
I am guessing it is to do with how the earth spins on its axis?

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Distribution of landmasses of the Paleo-Earth. Our planet shows different features as it rotates along its axis, sometimes dominated by land and others by ocean. Land areas are distributed predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere (68%) relative to the Southern Hemisphere (32%) as divided by the equator.
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Old 15th February 2021, 01:25 PM   #2
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they are now. I'm not familiar enough with archaeology to know if this always was the case, for all we know it's just coincidence?
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Old 15th February 2021, 01:32 PM   #3
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Why should we expect a balanced distribution?
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Old 15th February 2021, 01:57 PM   #4
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Centrifugal force. The dense, heavy basaltic rocks of the sea floor are thrown outwards towards the rim, so the lighter rocks of the continental land masses float in towards the centre.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Why is the larger part of the world's land mass mostly in the north?
At this point in time, or in general?

You're basically looking at a photograph of Tom Cruise running, and asking why he's always hopping around on his left foot while his right foot dangles in front of him.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:10 PM   #6
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The oceans actually take up almost no relative thickness on the Earth's surface. And the highest mountains and deepest abysses are also miniscule by comparison to the Earth's radius. They are little more than surface wrinkles. The whole crust is less than 1% of the globe's radius, and that is where continents float. Apart from some centrifugal forces, it is fairly random.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
they are now. I'm not familiar enough with archaeology to know if this always was the case, for all we know it's just coincidence?
It hasn't and coincidence is likely.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:15 PM   #8
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Nuna (2500 - 1500 mya) was about 60% north and 40% south, Gondwanaland (550 mya - 180 mya) was mostly in the southern hemisphere, Pangaea (335 mya - 175 mya) roughly equal. Stuff is constantly moving and shifting, and in a few more million years it will all look different again.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:21 PM   #9
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But aren't you all ignoring Antarctic that balances the rest?
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:24 PM   #10
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Also don't see why oceans should define continents. Ignore the oceans, and the concept of land mass, and things look different. Continents are each surrounded by other continents. "Landmass" is an artifact of water filling the low spots.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
But aren't you all ignoring Antarctic that balances the rest?
I don't know. Are we?

Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Also don't see why oceans should define continents. Ignore the oceans, and the concept of land mass, and things look different. Continents are each surrounded by other continents. "Landmass" is an artifact of water filling the low spots.
Defining the continents by the oceans makes a ton of sense in terms of human experience and effort.

That said, different definitions make sense in different scenarios. To certain kinds of physicists, every element heavier than hydrogen counts as a metal.
Edited by zooterkin:  <SNIP>
Response to post moved to AAH snipped.

Last edited by zooterkin; 20th February 2021 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 15th February 2021, 02:42 PM   #12
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Shouldn’t everything fall down to the bottom?
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Old 15th February 2021, 03:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
The oceans actually take up almost no relative thickness on the Earth's surface. And the highest mountains and deepest abysses are also miniscule by comparison to the Earth's radius. They are little more than surface wrinkles. The whole crust is less than 1% of the globe's radius, and that is where continents float. Apart from some centrifugal forces, it is fairly random.
We did a comparison a while back and if you shrink the earth to the size of a billiard ball, it would miss the tolerances by an incredibly small margin. It's as close to a sphere as you can get without some serious equipment
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Old 15th February 2021, 03:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
The oceans actually take up almost no relative thickness on the Earth's surface. And the highest mountains and deepest abysses are also miniscule by comparison to the Earth's radius. They are little more than surface wrinkles. The whole crust is less than 1% of the globe's radius, and that is where continents float. Apart from some centrifugal forces, it is fairly random.
Including Everest and Marinaras trench the world is smoother than a billiard ball.

Eta Atheist beat me. Ouch

Last edited by Samson; 15th February 2021 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 15th February 2021, 03:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
We did a comparison a while back and if you shrink the earth to the size of a billiard ball, it would miss the tolerances by an incredibly small margin. It's as close to a sphere as you can get without some serious equipment
I still feel like you should be able to find Mt Everest or the Mariana Trench on a billiard-sized Earth by running your thumb over it. Or by licking it.
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Old 15th February 2021, 03:17 PM   #16
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I figured all the water was just running down to the bottom.
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Old 15th February 2021, 03:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Including Everest and Marinaras trench the world is smoother than a billiard ball.

Eta Atheist beat me. Ouch
It's rounder, not smoother. Earth has imperfections you could feel on that scale. You didn't quite say the same thing as The Atheist.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:12 PM   #18
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A 3:18 minute long review of the shifting of the continents to now and 100 million years in the future:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGcDed4xVD4
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:46 PM   #19
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What if we've had the maps upside-down all this time?
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:51 PM   #20
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Argentina has entered the chat.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:56 PM   #21
RecoveringYuppy
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
A 3:18 minute long review of the shifting of the continents to now and 100 million years in the future:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGcDed4xVD4
For certain geological values of now.
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Old 15th February 2021, 05:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
What if we've had the maps upside-down all this time?
CJ Craig would like you to stop suggesting that, because you're "freaking her out".


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Old 15th February 2021, 05:47 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
they are now. I'm not familiar enough with archaeology to know if this always was the case, for all we know it's just coincidence?
Geology is the correct field, not archaeology. It wasn't always the case, and the coincidence is just that humankind evolved when the continents were in their present configuration.
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Old 15th February 2021, 05:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
Shouldn’t everything fall down to the bottom?
Only if the world was supported by turtles....
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Old 15th February 2021, 06:00 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
What if we've had the maps upside-down all this time?
We're on top of the world!

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.ne...png?1531789354
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Old 15th February 2021, 06:13 PM   #26
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Why not?
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Old 15th February 2021, 06:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
But aren't you all ignoring Antarctic that balances the rest?
No. Antarctica is not an especially big continent. That plus Australia plus most of South America plus a relatively low fraction of Africa does not outweigh the combination of Eurasia, North America, most of Africa, and a fragment of South America. In fact it's about a ratio of 2:1, a wide enough difference to easily see by eye.

North
South

Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Also don't see why oceans should define continents. Ignore the oceans, and the concept of land mass, and things look different. Continents are each surrounded by other continents. "Landmass" is an artifact of water filling the low spots.
It would still be true that the northern hemisphere has most of the crust's conspicuously thick area and the southern hemisphere has most of its conspicuously thin area.
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Old 15th February 2021, 06:16 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
I wonder if anyone will flip the map when the poles flip?
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Old 15th February 2021, 07:51 PM   #29
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The Earth has become more polarized recently.
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Old 15th February 2021, 08:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
It's rounder, not smoother. Earth has imperfections you could feel on that scale. You didn't quite say the same thing as The Atheist.
I said smoother as I thought the world not round becaise spinning, so oblate but smooth.
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Old 15th February 2021, 11:16 PM   #31
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The Continents: Land Area

Of the 7 major continents, 3 lie entirely in the Northern Hemisphere (Asia, North America, and Europe), 2 lie entirely in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia and Antarctica) and 2 straddle the equator (Africa and South America).

There isn't any real "reason" other than that just happens to be the way it is at this particular moment in geologic history. It was not always thus.
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Old 15th February 2021, 11:29 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Jim_MDP View Post
CJ Craig would like you to stop suggesting that, because you're "freaking her out".


Upside down is old hat the real world view is to see it side ways

The image is to large and cannot remember how to size an image in HTML

http://i.imgur.com/BYHgJxM.jpg

Last edited by Hans; 15th February 2021 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:01 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Upside down is old hat the real world view is to see it side ways

The image is to large and cannot remember how to size an image in HTML

http://i.imgur.com/BYHgJxM.jpg
This map shows that the shortest route between Perth and South Africa is via India.
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:03 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
This map shows that the shortest route between Perth and South Africa is via India.
In the sideways world that is true just like Campbell Mushroom soup is the base for an authentic curry.
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:11 AM   #35
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Smoother is absolutely the right word.

The Earth's radius is 6,371km, so we're looking at a diameter of just under 13,000 km. Mount Everest is just under 9km tall. It's 0.07% of the diameter of the ball.

A billiards ball is up to 57mm in diameter, and 0.07% of that is 0.04mm, i.e., 40 microns. No, you wouldn't feel that with your thumb at all.
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:18 AM   #36
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So people in Australia can claim to the "Biggest X" in the Southern Hemisphere.
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Old 16th February 2021, 02:37 AM   #37
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A brief history of the land masses by Map Men:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlzehe4mta4

And why it occurs.
And where we'll be in 250million years. Maybe.
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Old 16th February 2021, 02:59 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
In the sideways world that is true just like Campbell Mushroom soup is the base for an authentic curry.
And look how small Greenland is compared with Africa.
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Old 16th February 2021, 10:21 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
Upside down is old hat the real world view is to see it side ways

The image is to large and cannot remember how to size an image in HTML

http://i.imgur.com/BYHgJxM.jpg
It's amazing how totally disorienting that map is. When you have to get your bearings starting from Australia, that's saying something.
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Old 16th February 2021, 10:23 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
A brief history of the land masses by Map Men:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlzehe4mta4

And why it occurs.
And where we'll be in 250million years. Maybe.

Before clicking on your link, this went through my head:

MAP men MAP men MAP MAP MAP men men
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