Exploratour - Comparing the Surfaces of Earth and Mars


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 undersea topography.
Click on image for full size (630K GIF)
Map courtesy of the National Geographic Data Center/ U.S.G.S.

There are seven land masses on Earth called continents. Continents are raised above the rest of a planet's crust. On Earth, the continents are about 4.6 km above the ocean floor on average. Earth's continents are (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.
Click on image for full size version (160K GIF)
Image from Mars Global Surveyor, NASA/JPL

There are two regions on Mars which seem to be higher than the rest of the crust. The first is a large region in the lower half of the planet called the Highlands. The other region is known as the Tharsis Ridge or Tharsis Bulge. It is the size of a small continent on Earth. These two features may thought of as the continents of Mars.

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