The table below presents a comparison of continents on Earth and Mars.
A mercator projection 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.
landmasses that are raised above the rest of the crust because the
material they are composed of is less dense. On Earth, the continents lie
an average of 4.6 km above the ocean floor. 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 is dominated by the
Highlands, while the lower image highlights the Tharsis Ridge.
Click on image for full size version (160K GIF)
Image from Mars Global Surveyor, NASA/JPL
There are the two regions on Mars which seem to be
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 (dominating
the upper image). The other
raised feature is known as the Tharsis Ridge or Bulge (lower image). 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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, as well as books
on science education!