Land and water hemispheres

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The Land Hemisphere
The Land Hemisphere
The Water Hemisphere
The Water Hemisphere
Land Hemisphere top, Water Hemisphere bottom
Land Hemisphere top, Water Hemisphere bottom
Land Hemisphere top, Water Hemisphere bottom

The land and water hemispheres of Earth, sometimes capitalised as the Land Hemisphere and Water Hemisphere, are the hemispheres of Earth containing the largest possible total areas of land and ocean, respectively. By definition (assuming that the entire surface can be classed as either "land" or "ocean") the two hemispheres do not overlap.

Determinations of the hemispheres vary slightly. One determination places the centre of the Land Hemisphere at 47°13′N 1°32′W / 47.217°N 1.533°W / 47.217; -1.533 (in the city of Nantes, France).[1] The center of the water hemisphere is the antipodal point of the center of the land hemisphere, and is therefore located at 47°13′S 178°28′E / 47.217°S 178.467°E / -47.217; 178.467, near New Zealand's Bounty Islands in the Pacific Ocean.[1]

An alternative assignment determines the centre of the Land Hemisphere to be at 47°24′42″N 2°37′15″W / 47.411667°N 2.620833°W / 47.411667; -2.620833 (in île Dumet near Saint-Nazaire, France).[2][3]

Distribution of continents[edit]

The Land Hemisphere has the substantial majority of the planet's land, including Europe, Africa, North America, nearly all of Asia and most of South America. However, even in the Land Hemisphere, the ocean area still slightly exceeds the land area. The Land hemisphere is almost identical to the hemisphere containing the greatest human population.[4]

The Water Hemisphere has only about one-eighth of the world's land,[1] including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, the Maritime Southeast Asia, and the Southern Cone of the Americas. Antarctica is solely within the water hemisphere, though sources differ as to whether it is considered land for the purposes of calculation.

Most of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean are on the water hemisphere. Proportionately, the Water Hemisphere is approximately 89% water, 6% dry land and 5% polar ice cap.[1]

The below table follows the assignments of Alphonse Berget of land to the two hemispheres.[2]

Continent Area in land hemisphere (km²)
Area in water hemisphere (km2)
Europe 9,732,250 0
Asia 40,897,241 3,245,649
Africa 29,818,400 0
Americas 34,955,670 3,391,010
Australia and Islands of the Pacific 0 8,958,630
Antarctica 0 13,120,000
Land area within hemisphere 115,403,561 (80.1%) 28,715,289 (19.9%)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Boggs, Samuel Whittemore (December 1945). "This Hemisphere". Journal of Geography. 44 (9): 345–355. doi:10.1080/00221344508986498. 
  2. ^ a b Berget, Alphonse (1913). "Répartition géographique des Océans (détermination du pôle continental)". 10 (in French). V. Annales de l'Institut océanographique. 
  3. ^ "L'ILE DUMET: LE NOMBRIL DU MONDE". France Secret (in French). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "How Much of Humanity is on Your Side of World?". Brilliant Maps. 27 September 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2016.