An islet is a very small island.
As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle", use of the term implies small size, but little attention is given to drawing an upper limit on its applicability.
- Cay or Key – an islet formed by the accumulation of fine sand deposits atop a reef
- Motu – A reef islet formed by broken coral and sand, surrounding an atoll.
- River island – A small islet within the current of a river.
- Rock – A "rock", in the sense of a type of islet, is an uninhabited landform composed of rock, lying offshore, and having at most minimal vegetation.
- Sandbar – An exposed sandbar is another type of islet.
- Sea stack – A thin, vertical landform jutting out of a body of water.
- Skerry – A small rocky island, usually defined to be too small for habitation.
- Subsidiary islets – A more technical application is to small land features, isolated by water, lying off the shore of a larger island. Likewise, any emergent land in an atoll is also called an islet.
- Tidal island – Often small islands (not necessarily always islets) which lie off the mainland of an area, being connected to it in low tide and isolated in high tide.
A Tahitian motu off the island of Raiatea
- In the Caribbean and West Atlantic, islets are often called cays or keys. Rum Cay in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys off Florida are examples of islets.
- In the Channel Islands, they are often identified by the suffix -hou from the Norse -holm.
- In Scotland and Ireland, they are often called inches, from the Gaelic innis, which originally meant island, but has been supplanted to refer to smaller islands. In Ireland they are often termed skerries.
- In and around Polynesia, islets are widely known by the term motu, from the term for the coral-rubble islets common to the region.
- In and around the River Thames in England, small islands are known as aits or eyots.
In international law
Islets involved in ICJ cases
Whether an islet is considered a rock or not can have significant economic consequences under Article 121 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which stipulates that "Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf." One long-term dispute over the status of such an islet was that of Snake Island (Black Sea).
The International Court of Justice jurisprudence however sometimes ignores islets, regardless of inhabitation status, in deciding territorial disputes; it did so in 2009 in adjudicating the Romania-Ukraine dispute, and previously in the dispute between Libya and Malta involving the islet of Filfla.
List of islets
There are thousands of islets on Earth: approximately 24,000 islands and islets in the Stockholm archipelago alone. The following is a list of example islets from around the world.
- Águila Islet, the southernmost point of The Americas
- Aplin Islet (Queensland)
- Auster Lake Islet
- Ball's Pyramid, South Pacific
- Bay Islet or See Chau, Hong Kong
- Bikirrin, in Majuro, Marshall Islands
- Black Rock, South Atlantic
- Boundary Islet, Australia
- Bogskär, Finland
- Briggs Islet, southeastern Australia
- Bushy Islet (Queensland)
- Capitancillo Islet, in Bogo City, Cebu, Philippines
- Chão, in the Madeira Islands, Portugal
- Cholmondeley Islet (Queensland)
- Clubes Island, Brasília, Brazil
- Columbretes Islands, Spain
- Cone Islet, southeastern Australia
- Douglas Islet (Queensland)
- Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys, USA
- Dugay Islet, southeastern Australia
- Edwards Islet, southeastern Australia
- Enekalamur in Majuro, Marshall Islands
- Enemanit in Majuro, Marshall Islands
- Fairway Rock, Bering Strait
- Fastnet Rock, Ireland
- Filfla, southern Malta
- Formigas, in the Azores islands
- Gáshólmur, Faroe Islands
- Granite Island (South Australia), Victor Harbor, South Australia.
- Galatasaray Islet, Istanbul, Turkey
- Halfway Islet, Queensland, Australia
- Herald Island, Arctic Ocean
- Île Vierge, France
- Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
- Kid Island, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri United States
- Islets of Caroline Island, in Kiribati
- Islets of Mauritius
- Isla de Alborán, Spain, Western Mediterranean
- Jardine Islet (Queensland)
- Jethou, Bailiwick of Guernsey
- Keelung Islet, off the northern shore of Taiwan
- Klein Bonaire, Netherlands
- Kolbeinsey, Iceland
- Liancourt Rocks, administered by South Korea, claimed by Japan
- Lihou, Bailiwick of Guernsey
- Magra Islet (Queensland)
- Mañagaha, Saipan
- Martin Islet (New South Wales)
- Mid Woody Islet, southeastern Australia
- Milman Islet (Queensland)
- Monchique Islet, Europe's westernmost point, in the Azores, Portugal
- Montecristo, off the shore of Italy
- Noorderhaaks, off the coast of the Netherlands
- Oodaaq, Greenland
- Parece Vela, West Pacific
- Perejil Island, Strait of Gibraltar
- Penguin Islet (Tasmania)
- Pigeon Island, Sri Lanka
- Pokonji Dol, Croatia
- Rockall, North Atlantic
- Saint Peter and Saint Paul rocks, equatorial Atlantic
- Salas y Gómez, Northeast from Easter Island
- Saunders Islet (Queensland)
- Seacrow Islet, southeastern Australia
- Shag Rocks, South Atlantic
- Silver Islet, Ontario
- Sinclair Islet (Queensland)
- Skull Islet, in British Columbia, Canada
- Star Keys/Motuhope, New Zealand
- Saltholm, small Islet in Oresund west of Copenhagen
- Sue Islet (Queensland)
- Sumbiarholmur, Faroe Islands
- Sunday Islet (Queensland)
- Taprobane Island, Sri Lanka
- Thomson Islet (Queensland)
- Tindhólmur, Faroe Islands
- Vilkitsky Island, Arctic Ocean
- Wallace Islet (Queensland)
- Wachusett Reef, Ernest Legouve Reef, and Maria Theresa Reef, South Pacific Ocean
- Westward Islet, in the Pitcairn Islands
- Ynys Lawd, Wales
- Clive Schofield (2012). "Islands or Rocks, Is that the Real Question? The Treatment of Islands in the Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries". In Myron H. Nordquist, John Norton Moore, Alfred H.A. Soons, Hak-So Kim. The Law of the Sea Convention: US Accession and Globalization. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 322–340. ISBN 978-90-04-20136-1.