The Eastern Hemisphere is the half of the Earth that lies east of the prime meridian and west of the antimeridian. The prime meridian, which passes through Greenwich, London, United Kingdom, is marked by 0° longitude, while the antimeridian, which passes through the Pacific Ocean, is marked by 180° longitude. The Eastern Hemisphere contains more of the Earth's land mass than the Western Hemisphere. At least part of four of the seven continents are located in the Eastern Hemisphere: Africa, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Additionally, at least part of all five of Earth's oceans are located in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Continents in the Eastern Hemisphere
Africa is the second largest continent in the world in terms of land area, occupying approximately 11.7 million square miles. The continent is largely situated in the Eastern Hemisphere. The prime meridian passes through West Africa, excluding a small portion of the continent from the Eastern Hemisphere. Some of the African countries the line passes through are Algeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, and Ghana.
Europe is Earth's second smallest continent in terms of land area. The continent has an estimated area of 3.93 million square miles, most of which is located in the Eastern Hemisphere. Only a handful of European countries completely lie outside the Eastern hemisphere, such as Ireland and Portugal. Additionally, the prime meridian passes through three European nations, which means they are in both the Eastern and Western Hemisphere: the United Kingdom, France, and Spain.
Australia ranks as Earth’s smallest continent, covering an estimated area of 2.97 million square miles. It is the only continent entirely situated in the Eastern Hemisphere. The continent is comprised of mainland Australia and various islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Asia is Earth’s biggest continent and occupies an estimated area of 17.2 million square miles. The large continent is located primarily east of the prime meridian and west of the antimeridian. The only part of Asia outside the Eastern Hemisphere is a small portion of Russia, at the eastern end of the continent.
Oceans in the Eastern Hemisphere
The Indian Ocean is ranked as the world’s third largest ocean. It occupies an area of 27.2 million square miles, and it is the only ocean entirely situated in the Eastern Hemisphere. The ocean is located between African, Asia, Australia, and Antartica. The center of the Eastern Hemisphere runs through the Indian Ocean.
The Pacific Ocean is ranked as Earth’s largest ocean, with an area of 63.8 million square miles and covering close to 33% of Earth’s surface. The ocean is located between Asia, the Americas, and Australia. The ocean falls partly in the Eastern Hemisphere, where the western edge of the ocean meets Asia.
The Atlantic Ocean is Earth's second-largest ocean, covering approximately 41.1 million square miles. The Atlantic is roughly bounded to the west by North and South America, and to the east by Europe and Africa. Only a small part of the Atlantic Ocean, where the ocean meets the western coasts of Europe and Africa, is located in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The Arctic Ocean ranks as Earth's smallest ocean, occupying an area of approximately 5.4 million square miles. The ocean is situated in the region close to the North Pole and is partially located in the Eastern Hemisphere. Both the prime meridian and antimeridian cross through the Arctic Ocean, and therefore the segment of the ocean between these two longitudinal lines is part of the Eastern Hemisphere.
The Southern Ocean, also called the Antarctic Ocean, is completely located within the Southern Hemisphere, in the region close to the South Pole. It has an estimated area of 7.85 million square miles, ranking as Earth's second smallest ocean. Part of the ocean lies in the Eastern Hemisphere, while the remainder is located in the Western Hemisphere.
Characteristics of the Eastern Hemisphere
Since most of Earth's land mass is located in the Eastern Hemisphere, the majority of the world's population also lives in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Eastern Hemisphere has diverse natural features, from high mountain ranges to vast coastal areas. The Eastern Hemisphere is also home to the highest number of islands in the world.