ASIA, the name of one of the great continents into which the earth's surface is divided, embracing the north-eastern portion of the great mass of land which constitutes what is generally known as the Old World, of which Europe forms the northwestern and Africa the south-western region.
Asia is divided laterally along the parallel of 40° north by a depression which, beginning on the east of the desert of Gobi, extends westwards through Mongolia to Chinese Turkestan.
Hence the study of the mountain ranges of a continent is, for a proper apprehension of its physical conditions and characteristics, as essential as the examination of its extent and position in relation to the equator and poles, and the configuration of its coasts.
Asia is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of Africa-Eurasia – with the western portion of the latter occupied by Europe – lying east of the Suez Canal, east of the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas.
The boundary between Asia and Europe is commonly believed to run through the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River to its source, and the Ural Mountains to the Kara Sea near Kara, Russia.
Asia is the largest continent in the world by a considerable margin, and it is rich in natural resources, such as petroleum and iron.
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