The Continents

The Triple 7 Quest defines a continent as one of the 7 major land masses — North America, South America, Antarctica, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe —  and it’s surrounding islands.  There have been numerous discussions about what does and does not constitute a continent.  Given that there are only 7 defined continents (those listed above) every land mass no matter how large or small must somehow be a part of one of those 7 Continents.

To help further assign adjacent land masses to the appropriate continents, we have looked to various treaties, geopolitical claims, the proximity to the nearest defined continent (i.e., one of the 7 listed above) and the various continental shelves (i.e., geologically, a continent extends to the edge of its continental shelf).  Lastly, we examined plate tectonics to determine if they might be dispositive on the issue.   Conveniently there are 7 major tectonic plates.  However, after looking more closely at the boundaries of those plates it simply makes no sense to use plate tectonics to define the boundary of a continent.  For example, the Pacific Tectonic Plate, is solely covered by the Pacific Ocean and a handful of islands.  It doesn’t have any part of the majority of one of the 7 continents listed above as part of its plate.

In addition, plate tectonics actually confuses which continent a location is considered.  For example, Dubai is on the Arabian Tectonic Plate, not the Eurasian Tectonic plate.  As such, if plate tectonics were the sole determining factor then Dubai would not be considered part of Asia.  Another example is Tokyo.  We believe Tokyo to be apart of Asia, as do most people.  However, part of Tokyo actually rests on top of the North American Tectonic Plate.  To suggest that Tokyo should be considered part of North America flies in the face of common sense.

Based on our analysis of plate tectonics, it is our opinion that plate tectonics should have zero influence on the continental determination for a given location.

However, the defining characteristic of a continent is that it is land, not water or ice. As such, in our opinion, in order for a race to be considered to have been hosted on a continent it must actually run on land.  That is, in our opinion, events that run on ice that float over open water do not count as running on land and therefore cannot be considered to count as running on a continent.

In the pages that follow, we define what we believe to be the 7 continents for purposes of The Triple 7 Quest.