The table below presents a comparison of continents on Earth and Mars.
An image of the Earth's crust showing the continents as well as
Click on image for full size (630K
Map courtesy of the National Geographic Data Center/ U.S.G.S.
There are seven land masses on Earth called continents.
Continents are landmasses
that are raised above the rest of a planet's crust. Continents
are made of material that is less dense than
the rest of the terrestrial crust. This makes them lie about 4.6 km higher
than the ocean floor, on average. The Earth's continents (from
largest to smallest) are Asia, Africa, North America, South America,
Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
Two views of the surface of Mars. The upper image shows the
Highlands, while the lower image shows the Tharsis Ridge.
There are the two regions on Mars which seem elevated above
the rest of the crust. The first is a large elevated region in the lower
half of the planet known as the Highlands. The other feature is known
as the Tharsis Ridge or Bulge. It is the size of a small continent on Earth, or perhaps a large, volcanic island. These two features may be thought of as the continents of Mars.
Click on image for full size version (160K GIF)
Image from Mars Global Surveyor, NASA/JPL
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games