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An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water.[2] Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines, for example. An island may be described as such, despite the presence of an artificial land bridge; examples are Singapore
Singapore
and its causeway, and the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a land bridge or landfill, such as Coney Island
Coney Island
and Coronado Island, though these are, strictly speaking, tied islands. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
by the Corinth Canal
Corinth Canal
or Marble Hill in northern Manhattan
Manhattan
during the time between the building of the United States Ship Canal
United States Ship Canal
and the filling-in of the Harlem River
Harlem River
which surrounded the area, it is generally not considered an island. There are two main types of islands in the sea: continental and oceanic. There are also artificial islands.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Difference between islands and continents 3 Types of islands

3.1 Continental islands 3.2 Oceanic islands 3.3 Tropical islands

4 Artificial islands 5 Island
Island
superlatives 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Etymology[edit] The word island derives from Middle English
Middle English
iland, from Old English igland (from ig or ieg, similarly meaning 'island' when used independently, and -land carrying its contemporary meaning; cf. Dutch eiland ("island"), German Eiland ("small island")). However, the spelling of the word was modified in the 15th century because of a false etymology caused by an incorrect association with the etymologically unrelated Old French loanword isle, which itself comes from the Latin word insula.[3] Old English
Old English
ieg is actually a cognate of Swedish ö and German Aue, and related to Latin aqua (water).[4] Difference between islands and continents[edit] Greenland
Greenland
is the world's largest island, with an area of over 2.1 million km2, while Australia, the world's smallest continent, has an area of 7.6 million km2, but there is no standard of size which distinguishes islands from continents,[5] or from islets.[6] There is a difference between islands and continents in terms of geology. Continents sit on continental lithosphere which is part of tectonic plates floating high on Earth's mantle. Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
is also part of tectonic plates, but it is denser than continental lithosphere, so it floats low on the mantle. Islands are either extensions of the oceanic crust (e.g. volcanic islands) or geologically they are part of some continent sitting on continental lithosphere (e.g. Greenland). This holds true for Australia, which sits on its own continental lithosphere and tectonic plate. Types of islands[edit] Continental islands[edit] Continental islands are bodies of land that lie on the continental shelf of a continent.[7] Examples are Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sakhalin, Taiwan
Taiwan
and Hainan
Hainan
off Asia; New Guinea, Tasmania, and Kangaroo Island off Australia; Great Britain, Ireland, and Sicily
Sicily
off Europe; Greenland, Newfoundland, Long Island, and Sable Island
Sable Island
off North America; and Barbados, the Falkland Islands, and Trinidad
Trinidad
off South America. A special type of continental island is the microcontinental island, which is created when a continent is rifted. Examples are Madagascar and Socotra
Socotra
off Africa, the Kerguelen Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and some of the Seychelles. Another subtype is an island or bar formed by deposition of tiny rocks where water current loses some of its carrying capacity. This includes:

barrier islands, which are accumulations of sand deposited by sea currents on the continental shelves fluvial or alluvial islands formed in river deltas or midstream within large rivers. While some are transitory and may disappear if the volume or speed of the current changes, others are stable and long-lived.

Islets
Islets
are very small islands. Oceanic islands[edit] Main article: High island Oceanic islands are islands that do not sit on continental shelves. The vast majority are volcanic in origin, such as Saint Helena
Saint Helena
in the South Atlantic Ocean.[8] The few oceanic islands that are not volcanic are tectonic in origin and arise where plate movements have lifted up the ocean floor above the surface. Examples are Saint Peter and Paul Rocks in the Atlantic Ocean and Macquarie Island
Macquarie Island
in the Pacific. One type of volcanic oceanic island is found in a volcanic island arc. These islands arise from volcanoes where the subduction of one plate under another is occurring. Examples are the Aleutian Islands, the Mariana Islands, and most of Tonga
Tonga
in the Pacific Ocean. The only examples in the Atlantic Ocean are some of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
and the South Sandwich Islands. Another type of volcanic oceanic island occurs where an oceanic rift reaches the surface. There are two examples: Iceland, which is the world's second largest volcanic island, and Jan Mayen. Both are in the Atlantic. A third type of volcanic oceanic island is formed over volcanic hotspots. A hotspot is more or less stationary relative to the moving tectonic plate above it, so a chain of islands results as the plate drifts. Over long periods of time, this type of island is eventually "drowned" by isostatic adjustment and eroded, becoming a seamount. Plate movement across a hot-spot produces a line of islands oriented in the direction of the plate movement. An example is the Hawaiian Islands, from Hawaii
Hawaii
to Kure, which continue beneath the sea surface in a more northerly direction as the Emperor Seamounts. Another chain with similar orientation is the Tuamotu Archipelago; its older, northerly trend is the Line Islands. The southernmost chain is the Austral Islands, with its northerly trending part the atolls in the nation of Tuvalu. Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
is an example of a hotspot volcano in the Atlantic Ocean. Another hotspot in the Atlantic is the island of Surtsey, which was formed in 1963. An atoll is an island formed from a coral reef that has grown on an eroded and submerged volcanic island. The reef rises to the surface of the water and forms a new island. Atolls are typically ring-shaped with a central lagoon. Examples are the Line Islands
Line Islands
in the Pacific and the Maldives
Maldives
in the Indian Ocean. Tropical islands[edit] See also: Formation of coral reefs Approximately 45,000 tropical islands with an area of at least 5 hectares (12 acres) exist.[9] Examples formed from coral reefs include Maldives, Tonga, Samoa, Nauru, and Polynesia.[9] Granite
Granite
islands include Seychelles
Seychelles
and Tioman and volcanic islands such as Saint Helena. The socio-economic diversity of tropical islands ranges from the Stone Age societies in the interior of Madagascar, Borneo, and Papua New Guinea to the high-tech lifestyles of the city-islands of Singapore and Hong Kong.[10] International tourism is a significant factor in the economy of many tropical islands including Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Réunion, Hawaii, and the Maldives. Artificial islands[edit] Main article: Artificial island Almost all of the Earth's islands are natural and have been formed by tectonic forces or volcanic eruptions. However, artificial (man-made) islands also exist, such as the island in Osaka Bay
Osaka Bay
off the Japanese island of Honshu, on which Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport
is located. Artificial islands can be built using natural materials (e.g., earth, rock, or sand) or artificial ones (e.g., concrete slabs or recycled waste).[11][12] Sometimes natural islands are artificially enlarged, such as Vasilyevsky Island
Vasilyevsky Island
in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which had its western shore extended westward by some 0.5 km in the construction of the Passenger Port of St. Petersburg.[13] Artificial islands are sometimes built on pre-existing "low-tide elevation," a naturally formed area of land which is surrounded by and above water at low tide but submerged at high tide. Legally these are not islands and have no territorial sea of their own.[14] Island
Island
superlatives[edit]

Largest island: Greenland Largest island in a lake: Manitoulin Island Largest island in a river: Bananal Island Largest island in fresh water: Marajó Largest uninhabited island: Devon Island Most populous island: Java, Indonesia Lowest island: Franchetti island in Lake Afrera, Ethiopia Island
Island
shared by largest number of countries: Borneo
Borneo
(Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia) Island
Island
with the highest point: New Guinea
New Guinea
(Puncak Jaya, 4884 m), Indonesia Northernmost island: Kaffeklubben Island Southernmost island (not fully surrounded by permanent ice): Ross Island Island
Island
with the most populated city: Honshu
Honshu
(Tokyo), Japan Most remote island (from nearest land): Bouvet Island Island
Island
with earliest known settlement: Sumatra
Sumatra
(Lida Ajer cave), Indonesia

See also[edit]

Islands portal Environment portal Ecology portal Geography portal Weather portal

Desert island Inland island Island
Island
biogeography Island
Island
ecology Island
Island
country Island
Island
hopping List of ancient islands List of archipelagos List of artificial islands List of divided islands List of fictional islands List of island countries List of islands by area

List of islands by body of water List of islands by continent List of islands by country List of islands by highest point List of islands by name List of islands by population List of islands by population density List of islands named after people Phantom island Private island Small Island
Island
Developing States Tidal island

References[edit]

^ "Hawaii : Image of the Day". Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2015.  ^ "Webster's Dictionary-Island". Archived from the original on October 9, 2011.  ^ "Island". Dictionary.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved March 5, 2007.  ^ Ringe, Donald A. (2006). A Linguistic History of English: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic. Oxford University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-19-928413-X.  ^ Brown, Mike. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming Archived April 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. New York: Random House Digital, 2010. ISBN 0-385-53108-7 ^ Royle, Stephen A. A Geography of Islands: Small Island
Island
Insularity Archived September 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.. Psychology Press, 2001. pp. 7–11 ISBN 1-85728-865-3 ^ " Island
Island
(geography)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.  ^ Lomolino, Mark V. (editor); (et al.) (2004) Foundations of Biogeography: Classic Papers with Commentaries Archived April 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. University of Chicago Press. p. 316. ISBN 0226492362 ^ a b Austrian Academy of Sciences. "The Tropical Islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans". doi:10.1553/3-7001-2738-3.  Missing or empty url= (help) ^ Arnberger, Hertha, Erik (2011). The Tropical Islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Press. ISBN 978-3700127383.  ^ "Building Artificial Islands That Rise With the Sea". Archived from the original on June 5, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.  ^ "What Makes an Island? Land Reclamation and the South China Sea Arbitration Asia
Asia
Maritime Transparency Initiative". July 15, 2015. Archived from the original on May 27, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.  ^ "Conception of development of the artificial lands of Vasilievsky island". Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.  ^ United Nations
United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea, Article 13. Archived from the original on September 2, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: Island
Island
(category)

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Islands

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Island.

Definition of island from United Nations
United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea Listing of islands from United Nations
United Nations
Island
Island
Directory.

v t e

Coastal geography

Landforms

Anchialine pool Archipelago Atoll Avulsion Ayre Barrier island Bay Baymouth bar Bight Bodden Brackish marsh Cape Channel Cliff Coast Coastal plain Coastal waterfall Continental margin Continental shelf Coral reef Cove Dune

cliff-top

Estuary Firth Fjard Fjord Freshwater marsh Fundus Gat Geo Gulf Gut Headland Inlet Intertidal wetland Island Islet Isthmus Lagoon Machair Marine terrace Mega delta Mouth bar Mudflat Natural arch Peninsula Reef Regressive delta Ria River delta Salt marsh Shoal Shore Skerry Sound Spit Stack Strait Strand plain Submarine canyon Tidal island Tidal marsh Tide
Tide
pool Tied island Tombolo Windwatt

Beaches

Beach
Beach
cusps Beach
Beach
evolution Coastal morphodynamics Beach
Beach
ridge Beachrock Pocket beach Raised beach Recession Shell beach Shingle beach Storm beach Wash margin

Processes

Blowhole Cliffed coast Coastal biogeomorphology Coastal erosion Concordant coastline Current Cuspate foreland Discordant coastline Emergent coastline Feeder bluff Fetch Flat coast Graded shoreline Headlands and bays Ingression coast Large-scale coastal behaviour Longshore drift Marine regression Marine transgression Raised shoreline Rip current Rocky shore Sea cave Sea foam Shoal Steep coast Submergent coastline Surf break Surf zone Surge channel Swash Undertow Volcanic arc Wave-cut platform Wave shoaling Wind wave Wrack zone

Management

Accretion Coastal management Integrated coastal zone management Submersion

Related

Bulkhead line Grain size

boulder clay cobble granule pebble sand shingle silt

Intertidal zone Littoral zone Physical oceanography Region of freshwater influence

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