Many things make planet Earth unique, including a life-supporting atmosphere, a large moon, a protective magnetic field, and continents. As far as we know, no other planet has silica-rich continental masses surrounded by liquid water. In these and many other ways, our unique planet with continents is like no other.
So, why do we have continents? Many factors make the continents possible. They include plate tectonics, volcanism, abundant liquid water, and even plant life. It also has something to do with the minerals. Other rocky planets that we are aware of have basalt on their surfaces. Earth’s basalt is mainly on the ocean floor. The continents are made of lighter materials, including granite, sandstone, gneiss, and slate. The continents also have volcanic rocks, cooled magma, and sediment.
Earth’s continents sit high because they are thicker and less dense, making them buoyant enough to sit on top of the basalt. Like other floating masses, the continental plates gradually move. Sometimes they have collided, causing their edges to rise, forming mountain ranges. The granite weathers and breaks down into sand and clay forming fertile land. Tectonic plate collisions formed the Appalachian mountains, which have weathered to become much lower than they originally were.
On the other hand, the Himalayas formed when the Indian Subcontinent pushed north, colliding with Asia. That northward movement is still at work, causing the Himalayas to grow faster than they are eroding. Other mountains formed through volcanic activity. The ash from that volcanism has created fertile areas for crops and vegetation.
Many factors working together create fertile continents suitable for life. Earth is a unique, constantly changing, life-supporting planet of continents surrounded by oceans that temper the climate and supply rain to water the land. From all that science can determine, there is no other planet like it!
Are all the factors that make Earth the ideal place to live just accidental coincidences or do they show design? We cannot explain the vast number of coincidences by chance. We see that our Creator gave us everything we need for life and put us here to serve Him. We have much to be thankful for and a great responsibility to protect God’s great gift to us. Leaving our unique planet with continents to move to another one is not a viable option.
— Roland Earnst © 2023