Why Aren't Greenland, Australia Both Continents?

Article excerpt

You wanted to know

Neil Thomas of Libertyville wanted to know:

If Greenland is bigger than Australia, why isn't it considered a continent?

If you have a question you'd like Kids Ink to answer, write Kids Ink, c/o the Daily Herald, 50 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 104, Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Along with your question, please include your name, age, phone number, hometown, grade and school.

For further information ...

.. about maps, Australia and Greenland, Vernon Area Library in Lincolnshire suggests:

- "As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps" by Gail Hartman

- "Maps" by David L. Stienecker

- "Be Your Own Map Expert" by Barbara Taylor

- "Australia" by Robert J. Allison

- "Greenland" by Emilie U. Lepthien

On the Web: National Geographic for kids at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/kids/

World Factbook from the CIA at http://odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.htm

"If Greenland is bigger than Australia, why isn't it considered a continent?," asks Neil Thomas, 10, a fourth-grader at Libertyville's Butterfield School.

The answer to this question has to do with how maps are made.

"When you try to take something that is the shape of a sphere and make a copy of it on a flat surface, it is very difficult," said George Ritzlin, owner of George Ritzlin Maps & Prints in Highland Park. "It's like skinning an orange peel and pressing it flat; it will start breaking. …