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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Geography earth space Higher secondary school College Notes

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The Continents and its features

Geographically these tectonic plates are grouped as seven continents and five oceans. Let us learn more about the continental plates and their features in this article.

Geographically these tectonic plates are grouped as seven continents and five oceans. Let us learn more about the continental plates and their features in this article.

 

The Continents and its features:

 

A continent is defined as a large unbroken land mass completely surrounded by water, although in some cases continents are connected by land bridges. The seven continents are North America, South America, Europe, Asia, African, Australia, and Antarctica. The island groups in the Pacific are often called Oceania. These continents occupies nearly 29% of the Earth's total area. Mountains, Plateaus and plains are significant features of those continents.

 

A mountain is a landmass that stands significantly above its surrounding. The majority of mountains are created when tectonic plates collide, causing folding and uplifting of rocks along the plate boundaries. The uplifted land is then eroded into peaks and valleys.

 

A plateau is another feature of the Earth's surface. They are broad uplands that rise abruptly from the surrounding area. The majority of them are created when tectonic plates pulled, causing faulting and slipping down of rocks along the plate boundaries. Tibet, the highest plateau of the world, Colorado plateau, Decan Plateau, and East African Plateau are noteworthy.

 

A plain is a vast, low-lying areas of the continents. They are formed in different ways. Plains made through the actions of rivers are called alluvial plains; the Ganges, the Brahmaputra are the largest river plains in the world.

 

The plains made through wind sedimentation are called loess. The plain formed where the Yellow River flows in China is loess. Similarly, the plains formed through the actions of waves are called coastal plains. The eastern coastal plain of India is a good example.

 

Mountains, plateaus and plains are all part of lithosphere and they are made up of many types of rocks. Some rocks are white and some others are black. A few rocks are brittle and others are hard; some are like sand, are permeable, others, such as clay, are non-permeable. Rocks are composed of many minerals such as silica, aluminum, iron and magnesium. The nature of the rock is determined by the presence of its minerals. Rocks can be classified into three types based on their formation.


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