Originally, a very large contiguous landmass on Old Earth, separated or largely separated from other continents by ocean. By common convention, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia were regarded as continents, though some preferred to regard Europe as a subcontinent of a larger Eurasian continent. Land masses smaller than Australia, such as Greenland or New Guinea, were somewhat arbitrarily regarded as large islands.
Some Gaian class worlds, some terraformed worlds, and some extremely large habitats such as Banks Orbitals may also have land masses that are regarded by their inhabitants as continents. In such places, as on Old Earth, the designation of a geographic continent is more a matter of convention than definition. The geological definition of a continent is somewhat less subject to cultural interpretation.
- Continent (geology)
- Continental Drift - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
The slow movement of crustal plates (usually bearing continents or terranes) on a tectonically active eoarean, eogaian, or gaian world. The plates float over the molten asthenosphere.
- Continental Shield - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
A stable, ancient region, usually flat to slightly convex, in a continent on a world that experiences continental drift; the core from which the continent has grown over time.
- Erson - Text by Anders Sandberg
A continent on the planet Brin in the 42 Tauri system; site of the famous Battle of Erson. Now a part of the Metasoft empire. Large parts of the planet are still uninhabitable to biont life outside protective domes. The impressive Danton Monument stands as an timeless monument to the foolishness of war, and attracts a large number of peace pilgrims and ahimsic tourists.
- Gondwana - Text by Stephen Inniss
On Old Earth, a southern supercontinent prior to the formation of Pangea, and a similar supercontinent formed when Pangea broke to form Gondwana and Laurasia. Gondwana eventuallly broke up to form South America, Africa, Antarctica, and Australia, as well as two portions (India and Arabia) that eventually joined Asia. Distinctive common flora and fauna with ancestry dating back to the middle Jurassic when Gondwana was formed a second time were still identifiable when humanity arose on Old Earth. A number of replicas of Gondwana at various periods have been created by such organizations as the Jurassica Institute.
- Laurasia - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
On Old Earth, the northern supercontinent formed after Pangea broke up during the Jurassic period. During the Cretaceous period Laurasia had a quite different dinosaurian and mammal fauna to that of Gondwana in the south. Laurasia itself broke up to become North America, Europe, Asia, Greenland, and Iceland.
- North America
- Old Earth
- Pangea, Pangaea - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Former Earth supercontinent consisting of all of the land masses. It existed during the Permian and Triassic periods, and began breaking up during the Jurassic, forming Gondwanaland and Laurasia. The single landmass resulted in an arid climate, and the absence of geographical barriers meant a ubiquitous terrestrial fauna. But climatic factors resulted in two or three distinct phytogeographic provinces, the Dicrodium Flora in the south and a Laurasian Flora in the north. The term Pangea is also applied to any similar planetary supercontinent on a tectonically active Gaian world.
- Quark, Continent of
- South America