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7 summits and other mountain stuff => General => Topic started by: Mountain John on Apr 12 2008, 20:50

Title: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 12 2008, 20:50
The ageless debate of WHAT IS THE HIGHEST POINT ON THE CONTINENT OF AUSTRALIA / OCEANIA?  We all have our opinions and I, for one, respect all opinions, especially my friend, Harry's!

I think there are 3 versions.  I say we accept all 3 versions, but to give merit to the newest introduction, Mt. Wilhelm, let’s take a look:

The Debate:   Wilhelm vs. Carstensz vs. Kosciuszko.
First DEFINE THE CONTINENT of Australia / Oceania!

A)  Carstensz Pyramid, Indonesia (Continental Shelf, Tectonic Plate)
B)  Mt. Koscuisko, Australia (Continental Landmass)
C)  Mt. Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea (Atlas Makers, Cartographers)

The argument for Koscuisko - Dick Bass Version
THIS ARGUMENT believes that the continent should be the Australian landmass only.
THE PROBLEM is that the country of Australia is different than the continent of Australia.  The 1970s maps show Australia is a country (only) and ALSO Australia is a continent – which includes New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (east side of New Guinea).  Just like Japan is part of Asia and Great Britan is part of Europe.

The argument for Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) – Reinhold Messner Version
THIS ARGUMENT believes the continent is Oceania (islands are included), but all of the island of New Guinea should be part of Oceania.  The West side of the Island is on the same tectonic plate/continental shelf of Australia.
THE PROBLEM is then, why do you call it the Seven Summits?  If you want to ignore the atlas makers and cartographers and decide for yourself, why do you consider Europe and Asia two separate continents?  Europe and Asia are on one tectonic plate and continental shelf.  The continental boundary of Europe/Asia is a combination of mountains, sea’s and straight lines.

The argument for Wilhelm – John Christiana Version
This version is supported by The United Nations, National Geographic, The Times (London), Oxford, Rand McNally, Merriam-Websters, Scholastic, DK, Whsmith, Philips, Reader’s Digest, Mapquest,  Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The World Atlas, Lonely Planet, The Atlas of Canada, Harper Collins, Hammond, Le Mond En Grand, Barnes and Noble, and more.
THIS ARGUMENT is what all the geographical experts, cartographers and atlas makers believe, and shouldn't they decide the 7 Continents?  After all, islands are included on other continents (Japan/Great Britain), and continental shelf/tectonic plates do not define other continents (Asia/Europe).
THE PROBLEM is that mountain climbers want to decide the continent using their own logical reasoning for Australia/Oceania (ignoring atlas geographers and cartographers), even though this same reasoning does not work for the “continent” of Europe, so it would then be called The Six Summits.

United Nations: http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/english/htmain.htm
U.S. Govt. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):
MapQuest: http://www.mapquest.com/atlas/?region=oceania
National Geographic: http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/places/regions/region_oceania_reg.html
World Atlas: http://worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/au.htm
Nation Master: http://www.nationmaster.com/region/OCE
Atlas of Canada http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/reference/international/oceania/referencemap_image_view
Political Resources http://www.politicalresources.net/oceania-map.htm
Network Starter http://www.nsrc.org/codes/bymap/oceania.html
Australian Radio http://vkham.com/Info/Maps/oceania.html

THE BELOW ATLAS IMAGES CAN BE SEEN AT www.myspace.com/oceaniacontinent
Readress World Map 1970s, Notice country lettering is black and continent lettering is red.
The Pocket Book of the World 2006 - Notes West side of Island of New Guinea is Asia
Merriam-Websters Student Atlas 2006
National Geographic Student Atlas of the World 2005
National Geographic, Family Reference Atlas of the World, 2007
National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World 2006
National Geographic World Atlas 1995
Rand McNally Answer Atlas 2006
Rand McNally World Atlas 2006
Rand McNally Classic World Atlas 2005
The Times (London) Atlas of the World, 2005
OXFORD Essential World Atlas 2006
DK The Great World Atlas 2006
DK Geography of the World 2006
DK Complete Atlas of the World 2007
DK Atlas A-Z 2004
DK Essential Atlas of the World, 2005
Whsmith World Atlas 1980
Philips' Modern School Atlas, London, 1983,
Reader's Digest Bartholomew Illustrated Atlas of the World 2004
Reader's Digest Illustrated World Atlas 2004
Le Monde En Grand 2004
Scholastic Atlas of the World 2003
Harper Collins Concise World Atlas 2004
Chambers Reference Atlas 2003
Geographica, The Complete Illustrated Atlas of the World 2002
Hammond Odyssey World Atlas 2006
Barnes & Noble Quick Reference World Atlas 2006
Pocket Books, The Pocket Book of the World, 2005
Barnes & Noble, The Essential Atlas of the World, 2005
Covent Garden Books, World Reference Atlas, 2004
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: 7summits on Apr 12 2008, 22:54
Hi John,

thanks for the post, but I am going to merge it with the other discussion as it is the same  8)

That is a big pile of atlases (and I saw the picture of it you sent me, so I do believe you own them  ;)

I am pretty confident that many if not all of them draw a line on the world map, crossing Papua and giving Irian Jaya one colour (same as Asia) and PNG one other (same as Australia). At school in the Netherlands we were actually told that there were 7 'world parts' along those lines. But never was it said that those were continents, the base of the 7summits.
I am also very confident that those sources state that Wilhelm is the highest point of PNG, which is correct. But that does not mean that Wilhem is the highest point of any continent.

How many of those sources actually state the following, which in my view is what you are trying to prove:
"PNG is part of the Australian continent and Papua (Irian Jaya) is part of the Asian continent."?

By the way, do you own any of those atlases in a version from before 1962 or even 1948? Would be interesting to see where they were drawing the lines then (with Irian Jaya being Dutch, not Indonesian). What if the Dutch had been a bit more aggressive and would have captured PNG as well, what would you say then?

Just the fact that the Europe/Asia separation does not make 100% sense, does not mean that you can split another place in two continents, along a purely imperialistic political line which does not even have a geological background.

Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 18:48
Harry, you bring up very good points!!

You know, honestly, what happened is I was researching the Carstensz/Kosciusko debate trying to decide which one I should climb.  I was asking all my friends, looking at maps, etc.  That is when I saw the atlas that put Carstensz in Asia, and I also "discovered" Wilhelm.  The date was Nov 2, 2003, after my climb of Elbrus which I booked through you!  :)

I just thought this was overlooked.  I didn't really think :( that it might piss people off or there would be so much controversy.  Since mountaineers like Rob Hall could not do a new version, I think all 3 versions have merit.  "My" version is based entirely on the atlas people, who I personally think are the ones to decide the 7 continents.  To be honest, I do not know why the atlas cartographers decide Oceania the way they do.  Personally I would not.

To answer your questions:
Excellent point regarding "regions" and "continents".  Most do call Oceania (color coded as discussed) a continent.  Some say it and some I am inferring based on the color.

10 of the atlases actually say "Wilhelm is the highest mountain in Oceania"

As far as the previous years you mention, another good point.  I have one map that is old but I do not know the year.  I would like to research that.

Here is a direct link that shows these atlas images:

or click on "pics" here:  http://www.myspace.com/oceaniacontinent

Especially check out image 3 which calls the country of Australia "Australia".  then it calls the continent of Australia "Australia" (spelled the same) but includes New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, but not the west side.

Cheers my friend, John
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 18:53
Readress World Map 1970s, Notice country lettering is black and continent lettering is red. Australia is a country (black letters) AND ALSO A CONTINENT (red letters - spelled the same!), which includes New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (yellow on map).  Hopefully this image shows here.
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 19:08
Just a few examples... :)
1) Pocket World Atlas
2) Merrian-Websters Wilhelm in words (bottom right)
3) National Geographic Wilhelm in words (right side)
4) Rand McNally Wilhelm in words (left side)
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 19:12
Just a few examples... Smiley
1) Pocket World Atlas
2) Merrian-Websters Wilhelm in words (bottom right)
3) National Geographic Wilhelm in words (right side)
4) Rand McNally Wilhelm in words (left side)
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 19:14
I guess just one can post at a time.  sorry
This one is National Geographic
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: 7summits on Apr 13 2008, 19:25
Well, they are wrong, or mean something else than they say  :)

Again, those lines are good to make a political divison of the earth into 7 parts, but those are not continents, a continent is a geological feature and cannot be defined by political borders. Any atlas who states otherwise has no clue about their subject.

These are probably either bad translations (from German or Dutch), where Weltteile (?) or 'werelddeel (world part) are translated as 'continent'. Or they are simply copied from each other, just like the incorrect altitude for Carstensz (5030m). How many of those 30 atlases (and which?) have that wrong?


And try to find one place that says that a continent is defined by political borders.
To be honest, I do not know why the atlas cartographers decide Oceania the way they do.  Personally I would not.
Why not?  8)

One more question: what if the Russians would not have sold Alaska to the US, would Alaska be part of Asia as well?

I know you don't like WikiPedia, but this image gives a nice overview of different amounts of continents, dpending on definition:


(note that none of these versions cut the island of New Guinea in two part, as that is purely a political border)

It is good that you brought this up, it shows that it is time that some publishers ge their act together. (and not just Lonely Planet  (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSSYD21440120080413) ;-)
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 13 2008, 20:41
Good points Harry.

And I agree, it is good to discuss this and try to get to some kind of world agreement, although these atlases (cartographers) come from the U.S., England, France, Australia, just what I have.

National Geographic and Rand McNally are huge here in the U.S. and the 2 atlas pictures I attached above BOTH state they are Student Atlases in the title of the atlas.  So this is what the geography students in the U.S. are learning.  It says Wilhelm is the highest in words!  If it is wrong, let's fix it.

Harry, if I was to decide, I would put the whole island of New Guinea into Oceania, based on the continental shelf!  :)   But I am not the decider.  I personally think atlas cartographers should decide the continents.

Yes, I would HOPE they would still put Alaska into North America, no matter who owns it.  If the U.S makes Iraq their 51st state, then I hope it is still in Asia.  But don't European countries still own islands off of South America and Africa?  I think the small islands are still in those respective continents.  Because it is possible to put a country into 2 continents (Russia for one).

Of the 30 Atlases I have, they are actually 15 different makers.  Then further, several copy (purchase the rights) from others, as Jonathan has stated.  Now, I haven't researched this in detail, so there are might be errors in my categorizing.  I know we have smart inquisitive people here, so let's research.

These 7 atlas "manufacturers" below appear to do their own research.  The atlases that appear that do not do their own research, I have listed under the one that does.

Collins Bartholomew/Harper Collins, London, www.harpercollins.co.uk
   The Times (London), since 1895
   The Reader’s Digest Association Limited, London, www.rd.com

Philips, London, since 1906, (Octopus Publishing)
   Oxford, www.oup.com/us/atlas
   WHSmith, London
   George Philip & Son
   “Royal Geographical Society Permanent Committee on Geographical Names”

National Geographic Society, Washington D.C., www.nationalgeographic.com
   U.S. Library of Congress has categorized the 2001 edition

Rand McNally, Skokie, IL, www.randmcnally.com

DK (Dorling Kindersley), London, www.dk.com (lists 38 cartographers)
   Covent Garden Books

Carte de la France dans le Monde, France, www.franceloisirs.com

Randon House, Sydney, Australia, www.randomhouse.com.au
   Barnes & Noble / Weldon Owen
   Helicon Publishing (Research Machines), www.helicon.co.uk
   The Pocket Book of the World

Unknown source of Atlas:
Chambers Atlas, uses Royal Scottish Geographical Society
Hammond Atlas
Scholastic Atlas
Merriam-Websters/MapQuest Atlas

Cheers, John
Title: Re: Australia/Oceania Continent Debate
Post by: MikeW on Apr 14 2008, 11:08
Hey guys!

Look how people are confused about Oceania. National Geographic Society says Wilhelm is the highest mountain in the continent but in the same web site (of the NGS), there is an article about the 7 summits and the controversy between Kozzie and Carstensz, not about Wilhelm!!!
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/02/0223_jobyogwyn.html (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/02/0223_jobyogwyn.html)