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Plate tectonics is the geological process and study of the movement, collision and division of continents, earlier known as continental drift.
The term "the Continent" (capitalized), used predominantly in the European isles and peninsulas such as the British Isles, Sardinia, Sicily, and the Scandinavian Peninsula, means mainland Europe.
"Continents are understood to be large, continuous, discrete masses of land, ideally separated by expanses of water." However, many of the seven most commonly recognized continents are identified by convention rather than adherence to the ideal criterion that each be a discrete landmass, separated by water from others. Likewise, the criterion that each be a continuous landmass is often disregarded by the inclusion of the continental shelf and oceanic islands. The Earth's major landmasses are washed upon by a single, continuous World Ocean, which is divided into a number of principal oceanic components by the continents and various geographic criteria.