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Great Wall of China -- Galen Frysinger Photo

Asia is the world's largest continent, at just over 17 million square miles.  The population of approximately 3.3 billion people, is nearly three fifths of the world's total population.
Asia and Europe form a continuous landmass -- sometime called Eurasia.  It is convenient to distinguish the two landmasses into differing continents because of the vast cultural differences between the two.  The 'boundary' between the landmasses lies approximately along the Urals, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus, the Black Sea, the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, and the Aegean Sea. The land connection of Asia with Africa is through the isthmus oof Suez. Asia comes with a little more than 50 miles of North America at the Bering Strait.  Water surrounding Asia includes the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal on the south; the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk, and Bering Sea on the east; and to the north by the Arctic Ocean.
The continent of Asia consists of  Precambrian rock structures -- the Arabian and Indian peninsulas in the south and the central Siberian plateau in the north,  this rock mass enclosed a zone of folded ridges caused by the collision of Europe and Asia during the assemblance of Pangaea.  Asia is divided into the physiographic provinces of: the Northern Lowlands which cover west central Asia and most of Siberia; the huge  Central Highland of high plateaus, rising to15,000 feet in Tibet in China and enclosed by some of the world's greatest mountain ranges  -- the Himalayas, the Karakorum, the Kunlun Shan, the Tian Shan, and the Hindu Kush; India and Arabia are plateaus that adjoin the valleys of the Indus and Ganges Rivers. Mt. Everest  at 29,035  along the Nepal/Tibet border is the world's highest peak; in contrast, the shores of the Dead Sea at 1,312 feet below sea level is the world's lowest point on land.  Mountains from the mainland extend southeastwasrd forming penisulas in South East Asia -- eventually reappearing as the islands to the south of the mainland. Asia's rivers number among the longest in the world, they rise in the high plateaus and mountains and have deposited sediment to form the heavily populated alluvial lowlands of Asia. They include the Ob-Irtysh, the Yenisei, and Lena of Siberia; the Amur, Huang He (aka Yellow), Chang (Yangtze), Xi (West River), Mekong, Salween, and Irrawaddy of east and southeast Asia; the Ganges-Brahmaputra of eastern India and Bangladesh, the Indus of Pakistan, and Tigris-Euphrates of Iraq. Central Asia has vast areas of interior drainage terminating in the Aral Sea and Lake Balkash. Climatically, the continent ranges through all climate zones, from Tropical Rainforest near the equator to Tundra along the arctic coast. Monsoon rains affect both east, southeast, and east Asia -- interior locations experience the extreme of aridity.
Most of the people of Asia live on the great alluvial plains of the rivers -- depending for their very lives on the fertile soil and monsoon rains.  Many people depend on hunting and fishing in the northern part of Asia -- in the central and southwestern regions nomadic herding is the main activity. In the Humid Subtropical climate zone, rice is the most important crop -- in some areas, 2 or more crops per year.  Rice is the heaviest yielding grain of all -- almost all of it grown with hand labor.  Farmland is extremely limited by climate and landscape.  Other important crops of the region include wheat and soybeans in cooler climates to the north, peanuts, sugarcane, cotton, jute, silk, rubber, tea and coconuts.
Japan is the industrial giant of Asia -- China, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and Israel are considered among the industrialized countries as well.
Exports from the region include petroleum from Indonesia, tin from Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, India exports manganese, chromite from Turkey and the Philippines.  China produces tungsten, antimony, coal, and oil.  Huge oil deposits are believed to underly the South China Sea.

Geography 101 -- East Asia

Geography 101 -- Southeast Asia

Geography 101 -- South Asia

Asia -- Infoplease

CIA World Factbook

Animated Climate Map

Weather Satellite

Map and Discussion

Outline of Asian History

Galen Frysinger Photos

Tour of Southern and Eastern China


Australia New Zealand and Oceania