Islands are sub-continental land masses surrounded by water on all sides. Meanwhile, “archipelago” is a term used for a group of islands, which are related either geologically or geographically. One example of an archipelago of islands is the Philippines.
There are several places which have “island” in their names for historical reasons, even though they are connected to a land bridge or large continental mass, for example Coney Island.
In the sea, there are two main types of islands: continental, lying on the shelf of a continent and oceanic, not lying on any continental shelves.
The world has many artificial islands as well. They are built using either natural materials like earth, rock, and sand or using artificial materials like concrete slabs or recycled waste. However, legally they are not considered islands as they don’t have any territorial sea of their own.
One might wonder why Australia is not considered as an island, and the reason is that it has its own continental lithosphere and tectonic plate. On the other hand, “island” must be an extension of some oceanic crust or be a part of some continental lithosphere.
Greenland is considered the largest island, covering an area of 822,700 square miles even though, there is still an ongoing debate regarding why Greenland has been deprived of the status as a “continent” and why geologically it is considered a part of “North America”.
We bring you a table listing the largest islands of the world and the area they cover.
|Rank||Island||Area (sq miles)||Location|
|2||New Guinea||303,381||Southwest Pacific|
|5||Baffin Island*||195,928||North Atlantic|
|6||Sumatra||171,069||Northeast Indian Ocean|
|7||Honshu||87,200||Sea of Japan-Pacific|
|8||Victoria Island*||83,897||Arctic Ocean|
|9||Great Britain||80,823||Off the coast of NW Europe|
*”Atlas of Canada – Sea Islands”
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