An image of Antarctica differentiating its landmass (dark grey) from its ice shelves (minimum extent, light grey, and maximum extent, white)

A landmass, or land mass, is a large region or area of land that is in one piece and not broken up by oceans.[1][2] The term is often used to refer to lands surrounded by an ocean or sea, such as a continent or a large island.[3][4] In the field of geology, a landmass is a defined section of continental crust extending above sea level.[5]

Continents are often thought of as distinct landmasses and may include any islands that are part of the associated continental shelf. When multiple continents form a single contiguous land connection, the connected continents may be viewed as a single landmass. Earth's largest landmasses are (starting with largest):[6][7][8]

  1. Afro-Eurasia (main landmass of the geoscheme region of the same name and its continental parts Africa and Eurasia - or Europe and Asia; the center of Earth's land hemisphere, comprising more than half of Earth's landmass)
  2. Americas (main landmass of the geo-region of the same name and its continental parts North and South America; comprising most of the landmass of the Western Hemisphere)
  3. Antarctica (main landmass of the geo-region and continent of the same name)
  4. Mainland Australia (main landmass of the geo-region Oceania, its sub-region Australasia, the continent Australia and the country Australia)

See also


  1. ^ "Landmass". Cambridge Dictionary. Dictionary. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Landmass". Merriam-Webster. Dictionary. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  3. ^ Cook, Peter J.; Carleton, Chris M., eds. (9 November 2000). Continental Shelf Limits: The Scientific and Legal Interface. Oxford University Press. p. 298. doi:10.1093/oso/9780195117820.001.0001. ISBN 9780197561218 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Nijman, Jan; Muller, Peter O.; de Blij, H.J. (2017). "Introduction". Regions: Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts (17th ed.). Wiley. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-119-30189-9.
  5. ^ "Landmass"., LLC. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  6. ^ Dempsey, Caitlin (2013-10-15). "Geography Facts about the World's Continents". Geography Realm. Retrieved 2022-08-26.
  7. ^ Dunn, Ross E.; Mitchell, Laura J.; Ward, Kerry (23 August 2016). The New World History: A Field Guide for Teachers and Researchers. University of California Press. pp. 232–. ISBN 978-0-520-28989-5 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ R.W. McColl, ed. (2005). "continents". Encyclopedia of World Geography. Vol. 1. Facts on File, Inc. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-8160-7229-3. Retrieved 25 August 2022. And since Africa and Asia are connected at the Suez Peninsula, Europe, Africa, and Asia are sometimes combined as Afro-Eurasia or Eurafrasia. The International Olympic Committee's official flag, containing [...] the single continent of America (North and South America being connected as the Isthmus of Panama).