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- Created 2012-03-02
, and neighbouring islands. The continent is sometimes known in technical contexts by the names
, to distinguish it from the Australian mainland. It is the smallest of the seven traditional continents in the English conception.
is not part of the continent of Australia, but of the separate, submerged continent of
. Zealandia and Australia are both part of the wider regions known as
The continent of Australia lies on a
overlain by shallow seas which divide it into several landmasses — the Arafura Sea and
between mainland Australia and New Guinea, and
between mainland Australia and Tasmania. When
s were lower during the
Pleistocene ice age
, including the
last glacial maximum
about 18,000 BC, they were connected by dry land. During the past ten thousand years, rising sea levels overflowed the lowlands and separated the continent into today's low-lying
mainland and the two mountainous islands of New Guinea and Tasmania. Geologically, a continent extends to the edge of its continental shelf, so the now-separate islands are considered part of the continent. Due to the spread of animals, fungi and plants across the single Pleistocene landmass the separate lands have a related biota.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 19 May), licensed under
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