Australia and Oceania

By | June 13, 2021


Australia, the smallest part of the world, is located in the southern hemisphere between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and has a west-east extension of 4100 kilometers and a north-south extension of almost 3700 kilometers. Like parts of Africa and the Middle Ages, Australia belonged to the great land mass Gondwana, from which it isolated itself in the Mesozoic – together with Tasmania, New Zealand and New Guinea, which were only separated from Australia by the post-glacial sea level rise. Australia is divided into three major units, which are separated by the Macdonnell chain in the interior of the continent. Along the east coast there is a mountain range that reaches its highest point on Mount Kosciusko. To the northeast is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef on earth.

New Guinea is located on the western edge of the Pacific in the tropics and is traversed by a central chain of mountains. Like the island of Tasmania, New Guinea is located on the Australian continental shelf, but is politically and economically oriented towards Southeast Asia.


The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the three oceans on earth (166 million km² excluding, 181 million km² including the tributaries). It takes up about a third of the earth’s surface and about half of its water surface.

With the exception of the Australian continent, New Guinea and the two large New Zealand islands, the 7500 mostly small Pacific islands between the northern and southern tropics determine the appearance. Together with New Guinea and New Zealand, they are referred to as Oceania as defined on COUNTRYAAH. Large parts of Oceania are tectonically very active. This leads to characteristic volcanic island shapes like in Hawaii. The formation of the atolls can also be traced back to such islands.


Most of the Pacific Ocean is more than 4000 meters deep, in the narrow, elongated deep-sea trenches even up to 11 034 meters (in the Mariana Trench: Witjastief 1) are reached. The deep-sea trenches mark plate boundaries (e.g. Pacific plate, Philippine plate). Numerous active volcanoes and the frequent earthquakes and seaquakes are an expression of the tectonic activities due to displacements (North America), collisions (New Guinea) and submersion processes (Atacama Trench) of neighboring plates.

The South Pacific is divided by the central East Pacific Ridge, to the east of this ridge the Chilean Threshold and the Galapagos Islands mark the boundaries of the Coconut and Nasca plates. There are only a few archipelagos between the East Pacific Ridge and the Tonga Trench, to the west of the Tonga Trench is a tectonically restless and highly indented area.

The North Pacific is divided into several sub-basins by island ridges; there is no central ridge like in the other oceans; therefore no new earth crust is formed. In geological terms, the Pacific is a shrinking ocean.


Oceania has a mainland area of ​​1.3 million square kilometers. The mostly small islands are scattered over an area of ​​sea of ​​70 million square kilometers. In comparison, this proportion corresponds to an area of ​​water the size of Germany, on which only seven islands the size of Rügen are scattered.

The island of wealth is the Pacific compared to other oceans, unique. New Zealand and New Guinea are geologically young, relatively large and z. T. mountainous islands that lie on plate boundaries. The tectonic processes and the risk of earthquakes are correspondingly intense. The numerous small islands are mostly atolls or volcanic islands. Only around a third of these islands are inhabited.


With a land area of ​​7.7 million square kilometers, Australia is the smallest continent on earth. Geologically, Australia is old and very stable, there are no tectonic activities that can be compared with those of Southeast Asia or Oceania. Large parts are taken up by drying rooms, but they have a different character than z. B. in North Africa (lower aridity). The natural flora and fauna show many endemic species, this is a consequence of the isolated location of Australia over geological time periods.


The date line and its course were internationally agreed in 1845. If you cross it on a Monday coming from the west (e.g. on a trip from Asia to America), then the following day is again a Monday, you (apparently) gain a day, because east of the date line is only Sunday. The time does not change or only changes by one hour, depending on whether the date line at the point of crossing coincides with a time zone boundary or not. Conversely, if you travel from America to Asia on a Sunday, you (apparently) lose a day because it is already Monday west of the date line.

oceania countries