Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Land mass on earth:Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere

  1. Aug 30, 2004 #1


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Does anyone know which hemisphere has more land mass? My guess is the Northern Hemisphere, and if that is fact, why is it so?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You don't have to guess. You can look at a map or a globe of the earth and see quite clearly that there is more land mass in the northern hemisphere. Why is it that way? I don't know but variation of elevation (plate tectonics) along with the availability of liquid water. Obviously, if there were no oceans then the two hemispheres would have the same "land mass!"
  4. Aug 31, 2004 #3
    Northern Hemisphere has more land mass,i think.It is because most of contentient are in northern hemisphere.
  5. Aug 31, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm not so sure...
    Are you guys including Antarctica in your conclusions? Makes the two Hemispheres look "almost" even to me. But I geusse the north still appears to have a little more. As for the "why", that's just a matter of timing, according to the theory of continental drift. As the continents slide around the Earth's surface, we just happen to be looking at them at a time when most are above the equator.

    If Africa drifts any farther south, so the equator cuts through it just above the middle, rather than just below, then the southern hemisphere will have the greater landmass by far.
  6. Aug 31, 2004 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I recommend a quick trip to your local library which likely has a globe. Use it to estimate the area of all the land masses on the Earth - including Antarctica!
  7. Aug 31, 2004 #6
    Over two thirds of the continents are on the Nortern hemisphere, Continents cover 29% of the globe whilst (love that word :smile:) 35% make up for the continental shells versus the deep oceans.

    Why this is so, is "not understood" it certainly has been different in the past, with the "plate teconics" moving the continents around the globe. Also a curiosity is that most of the continents are antipode to an ocean. Antarctica and the Arctic ocean, North America and the Indian ocean. Asia and the south pacific etc. Probably some kind of equilibrium. There can also be a tendency for spinning masses to find the smallest 'Inertia tensor", having the poles move to a position that the annular momentum of the Earth is minimum. This is the basis of the http://www.gps.caltech.edu/~devans/iitpw/science.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook