Is Australia bigger than Groenland in the region?
From what size is an island an independent continent?
According to an old tradition, the border between Australia and Greenland runs. Greenland is still considered an island, from Australia onwards one speaks of the continent. When looking at a normal world map, you sometimes get the impression that Australia and Greenland are almost the same size. This is deceptive, however, because most world maps show the proportions in a distorted way and the polar regions appear much larger than areas of the same size in the tropics.
In reality, Greenland is only about a third the size of Australia, which is a big difference. So is it pure arbitrariness to draw the line between Greenland and Australia? Could one also have said: we still count Australia as an island and first call Antarctica a continent? Or: do we count Greenland as a separate continent and the largest island would then be New Guinea?
Australia lies on its own continental plate
In theory, that would have been possible. However, there is one major geological difference between Australia and Greenland. It is well known that the earth's surface is divided into several large and small continental plates, which slowly move in different directions across the globe. And Australia - together with New Zealand and Tasmania - actually has its own continental plate. One cannot say that for Greenland. Greenland is geologically part of North America; there is no such thing as a "Greenlandic" record. In this respect, there is a qualitative difference. And that's where the line would be drawn today.
Nevertheless, this is a subsequent explanation, because when the continents were defined, science did not yet know about continental plates. On the other hand, if you were to complete this consistently, you would also have to look at India or the Arabian Peninsula as continents, because they are also on their own disks. But they are to a certain extent "attached" to the major continent of Eurasia and therefore do not count as separate continents.
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