DK People & Places: Physical World

Despite its being called “Earth,” more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface is covered in water. The rest consists of seven vast expanses of land called continents. The largest of these is Asia, followed by Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australasia. They contain an amazing variety of landscapes—mountains, deserts, tropical rainforests, woodlands, and polar ice caps.


Seventy-one percent of our planet is covered with water in the form of oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers. The highest mountain, the deepest trench, and the longest mountain range are all found under the ocean.


Longest river: Nile 4,160 miles (6,695 km)

Largest lake: Caspian Sea 143,243 sq miles (371,000 sq km)

Highest point: Mt. Everest 29,035 ft (8,850 m)

Lowest point: Dead Sea –1,312 ft (–400 m)

Largest ocean: Pacific Ocean

Largest desert: Sahara 3,263,400 sq miles (9,065,000 sq km)

Largest island: Greenland 836,327 sq miles (2,166,086 sq km)

Coldest place: Ulan Bator, Mongolia –26°F (–32°C)

Hottest place: Baghdad, Iraq 110°F (43°C), July/August

Wettest place: (by annual rainfall) Liberia, 202 in (514 cm) of rain per year

Driest place: (by annual rainfall) Egypt, 11°8 in (2.9 cm) of rain per year

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley