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An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology) ...

atoll
s can be called
islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

islet
s, skerries,
cay A cay ( or ), also spelled caye or key, is a small, low-elevation, sandy island on the surface of a coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biolog ...
s or keys. An
island in a river
island in a river
or a
lake island A lake island is any landmass within a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a Depression (geology), basin, surrounded by land, and set apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie o ...

lake island
may be called an
eyot or ait
eyot or ait
, and a small island off the coast may be called a
holm Holm may refer to: Places * Holm (island), the name of several islands * Holm, Nordfriesland, Germany * Holm, Pinneberg, Germany * Holm (Flensburg), Flensburg, Germany * Holm, Norway, in Nordland county * Holm, Troms, Norway * Holm, Podu Iloai ...
. Sedimentary islands in the
Ganges delta The Ganges Delta (also known as the Sundarbans Delta or the Bengal Delta) is a river delta A river delta is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms toget ...
are called chars. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands, such as the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, is referred to as an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
. An island may be described as such, despite the presence of an artificial land bridge; examples are
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
and its
causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment Embankment may refer to: Geology and geography * A levee, an artificial bank raised above the immediately surrounding land to redirect or prevent flooding by a river ...

causeway
, and the various
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

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 is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually un ...
and
Coronado IslandCoronado may refer to: People * Coronado (surname) * Francisco Vázquez de Coronado Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján (; 1510 – 22 September 1554) was a Spanish conquistador is one of the most famous Portuguese conquerors, havin ...
, though these are, strictly speaking,
tied island Tied islands, or land-tied islands as they are often known, are landforms consisting of an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_ ...
s. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the
mainland Mainland is defined as "relating to or forming the main part of a country or continent, not including the islands around it egardless of status under territorial jurisdiction by an entity" The term is often human geography, politically, econo ...
by a man-made canal, for example the
Peloponnese The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula and geographic regions of Greece, geographic region in southern Greece. It is connected to the central part of the country by the ...
by the
Corinth Canal The Corinth Canal ( el, Διώρυγα της Κορίνθου, translit=Dhioryga tis Korinthou) connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf The Saronic Gulf (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or rela ...

Corinth Canal
, more or less the entirety of
Fennoscandia __NOTOC__ Fennoscandia (Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish peop ...

Fennoscandia
by the
White Sea Canal White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (Commonwealth English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property corresponding in humans to the categories called ''blue'', ''green'', ''re ...
, or
Marble Hill Marble Hill is the name of: Australia *Marble Hill, South Australia, the vice-regal residence in the Adelaide Hills Ireland *Marble Hill, County Donegal, a village in County Donegal United Kingdom *Marble Hill House, a villa on the banks of ...

Marble Hill
in northern
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
during the time between the building of the
United States Ship Canal Spuyten Duyvil Creek () is a short in connecting the to the and then on to the . The confluence of the three water bodies separate the island of from and the rest of the mainland. Once a distinct, turbulent waterway between the Hudso ...
and the filling-in of the
Harlem River The Harlem River is an tidal strait A tidal strait is technically not a river but a strait connecting two oceans or seas. Tidal straits are narrow seaways through which tidal currents flow. Tidal currents are usually unidirectional but sometim ...
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 island An artificial island or man-made island is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on at ...
s, which are man-made.


Etymology

The word ''island'' derives from
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following ...
''iland'', from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
''igland'' (from ''ig'' or ''ieg'', similarly meaning 'island' when used independently, and -land carrying its contemporary meaning; cf.
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
''eiland'' ("island"),
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
''Eiland'' ("small island")). However, the spelling of the word was modified in the 15th century because of a
false etymology A false etymology (fake etymology, popular etymology, etymythology, pseudo-etymology, or par(a)etymology) is a popular but false belief about the origin or derivation of a specific word. It is sometimes called a folk etymology Folk etymology (als ...
caused by an incorrect association with the
etymologically Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of words. By extension, t ...
unrelated Old French loanword ''isle'', which itself comes from the Latin word ''insula''. Old English ''ieg'' is actually a
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
of Swedish ''ö'' and German ''Aue'', and related to Latin ''aqua'' (water).
Islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

Islet
s are very small islands.


Relationships with Continents


Differentiation from continents

There is no standard of size that distinguishes islands from
continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smal ...

continent
s,Brown, Mike
''How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming''
. New York: Random House Digital, 2010.
or from
islet An islet is a very small island. Most definitions are not precise, but some suggest that an islet has little or no vegetation, and cannot support human habitation. They may be made of rock, sand, and/or coral, may be permanent or tidal, and may ...

islet
s.Royle, Stephen A
''A Geography of Islands: Small Island Insularity''
. Psychology Press, 2001. pp. 7–11
There is a difference between islands and
continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smal ...

continent
s in terms of
geology Geology (from the γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is a branch of concerned with both the liquid and , the of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Geology can ...

geology
. Continents are the largest
landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the ...
of a particular
continental plate Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * Continental (album), ''Continental'' (album), an alb ...
; this holds true for
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
, which sits on its own continental lithosphere and tectonic plate (the
Australian Plate The Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate in the eastern hemisphere, eastern and, largely, southern hemisphere, southern hemispheres. Originally a part of the ancient continent of Gondwana, Australia remained connected to Indian plate, India ...
). By contrast, islands are either extensions of the
oceanic crust The oceanic crust is the uppermost layer of the oceanic portion of the tectonic plates This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust 350px, Plates in the crust of Earth Earth's crust i ...
(e.g. volcanic islands), or belong to a continental plate containing a larger landmass (continental islands); the latter is the case of Greenland, which sits on the
North American Plate The North American Plate is a tectonic plate This is a list of tectonic plates on Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around thick and c ...
.


Continental islands

Continental islands are bodies of land that lie on the
continental shelf A continental shelf is a portion of a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

continental shelf
of a
continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smal ...

continent
. Examples are
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
,
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra, are internat ...
,
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia So ...

Sumatra
,
Sakhalin Sakhalin; ja, 樺太 ''Karafuto'') is the largest island of Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. The ...

Sakhalin
,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and
Hainan Hainan (, ; ) is the smallest and southernmost province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, ...

Hainan
off
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
;
New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated by the wide from . Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east ...

New Guinea
,
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island States and territories of Australia, state of Australia. It is located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Mainland Australia, Australian mainland, separated from it by Bass Strait. T ...
, and
Kangaroo Island Kangaroo Island, also known as Karta Pintingga (literally 'Island of the Dead' in the language of the Kaurna people), is Australia's third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island, Northern Territory, Melville Island. It lies in the s ...

Kangaroo Island
off
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
;
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, and
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
off
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
;
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
,
Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador (, ) is the easternmost provinces and territories of Canada, province of Canada, in the country's Atlantic Canada, Atlantic region. It is composed of the island of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland and the continental ...

Newfoundland
,
Long Island Long Island is a densely populated island in the southeast part of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous Unit ...
, and
Sable Island Sable Island (french: île de Sable, literally "island of sand") is a small Canadian island situated southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and about southeast of the closest point of mainland Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island is ...
off
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
; and
Barbados Barbados is an in the of the , in the region of , and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is in length and up to in width, covering an area of . It is in the western part of the North Atlantic, east of the and the . Barbad ...

Barbados
, the
Falkland Islands The Falkland Islands (; es, Islas Malvinas, ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece ...

Falkland Islands
, and
Trinidad Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil- ...

Trinidad
off
South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern of a single continent called (see the ). The reference to South America instead of other cultural ...

South America
.


Microcontinental islands

A special type of continental island is the microcontinental island, which is created when a continent is
rift 200px, Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional faults">extensional_fault.html" ;"title="Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional fault">Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional faults In geology, a rift is a linear zone where the lithos ...

rift
ed. Examples are
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
and
Socotra Socotra or Soqotra (; ar, سُقُطْرَىٰ ), located between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, is the largest of the four islands in the Socotra Archipelago. The territory is located near major shipping routes and is officially ...

Socotra
off
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of i ...

Africa
,
New Caledonia ) , anthem = " Soyons unis, devenons frères" , image_map = New Caledonia on the globe (small islands magnified) (Polynesia centered).svg , map_alt = Location of New Caledonia , map_caption = Location of New Caledonia , mapsize = 290px , s ...
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and some of the
Seychelles Seychelles (; ), officially the Republic of Seychelles (french: link=no, République des Seychelles; Creole: ''La Repiblik Sesel''), is an archipelagic island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country ...

Seychelles
.


Bars

Another subtype is an island or
bar Bar or BAR may refer to: Food *Bar (establishment) A bar is a long raised narrow table or bench designed for dispensing beer or other alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drinks. They were originally chest high, and a bar, often brass, ran the lengt ...
formed by deposition of tiny rocks where water current loses some of its carrying capacity. This includes: *
barrier island Barrier islands are coastal landforms and a type of dune system that are exceptionally flat or lumpy areas of sand that form by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast. They usually occur in chains, consisting of anything from a f ...
s, which are accumulations of
sand Sand is a granular Granularity (also called graininess), the condition of existing in granules or grains A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of th ...

sand
deposited by sea currents on the continental shelves *
fluvial In geography and geology, fluvial processes are associated with rivers and streams and the Deposition (geology), deposits and landforms created by them. When the stream or rivers are associated with glaciers, ice sheets, or ice caps, the term glaci ...
or
alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
islands formed in
river delta A river delta is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...

river delta
s 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.


Oceanic islands


Tectonic versus volcanic

Oceanic islands are islands that do not sit on continental shelves. The vast majority are
volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet ar ...

volcanic
in origin, such as
Saint Helena Saint Helena () is a British possession in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote volcanic tropical island west of the coast of south-western Africa, and east of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ;), or simply Rio, is the List of larges ...

Saint Helena
in the South Atlantic Ocean. The few oceanic islands that are not volcanic are
tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gene ...
in origin and arise where plate movements have lifted up the ocean floor above the surface. Examples are the
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago ( pt, Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo ) is a group of 15 small islets and rocks in the central equatorial Atlantic Ocean held by Brazil.
in the North Atlantic Ocean and
Macquarie Island Macquarie Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Protec ...
in the South Pacific Ocean.


Volcanic islands


= Arcs

= One type of volcanic oceanic island is found in a volcanic island arc. These islands arise from volcanoes where the
subduction Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere A lithosphere ( grc, λίθος [] for "rocky", and [] for "sphere") is the rigid, outermost shell of a terrestrial planet, terrestrial-type planet or natural satellite. On ...

subduction
of one plate under another is occurring. Examples are the
Aleutian Islands The Aleutian Islands (; ; ale, Unangam Tanaa, literally "Land of the s", possibly from ''aliat'', "island"), also called the Aleut Islands or Aleutic Islands and known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, are a chain of 14 large volcanic ...
, the
Mariana Islands The Mariana Islands (; also the Marianas; in ChamorroChamorro may refer to: * Chamorro language, an Austronesian language indigenous to The Marianas * Chamorro people, the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific * Chamorr ...
, and most of
Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; ...

Tonga
in the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents o ...

Pacific Ocean
. The only examples in the Atlantic Ocean are some of the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, ...
and the
South Sandwich Islands ) , anthem = "God Save the Queen" , song_type = , song = , image_map = South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in United Kingdom.svg , map_caption = Location of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the southern Atlantic Oce ...

South Sandwich Islands
.


= Oceanic Rifts

= 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.


= Hotspots

= A third type of volcanic oceanic island is formed over volcanic Hotspot (geology), 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 isostasy, 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 to Kure Atoll, 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 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.


= Atolls

= An
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology) ...

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 in the Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.


Tropical islands

Approximately 45,000 Tropics, tropical islands with an area of at least exist. Examples Coral reef#Formation, formed from coral reefs include Maldives,
Tonga Tonga (, ), officially named the Kingdom of Tonga ( to, Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga), is a Polynesia Polynesia (, ; from grc, πολύς "many" and grc, νῆσος "island") ( to, Faka-Polinisia; mi, Porinihia; haw, Polenekia; ...

Tonga
, Samoa, Nauru, and Polynesia. Granite islands include
Seychelles Seychelles (; ), officially the Republic of Seychelles (french: link=no, République des Seychelles; Creole: ''La Repiblik Sesel''), is an archipelagic island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country ...

Seychelles
and Tioman Island, Tioman. The socio-economic diversity of tropical islands ranges from the Stone Age societies in the interior of North Sentinel,
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), and previously known as the Malagasy Republic The Malagasy Republic ( mg, Repoblika Mala ...

Madagascar
,
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
, and Papua New Guinea to the high-tech lifestyles of the city-islands of
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
and Hong Kong. International tourism is a significant factor in the economy of many tropical islands including Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Réunion, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Maldives.


De-islanding

The process of de-islandisation is often concerning Bridge, bridging, but there are other forms of linkages such as Causeway, causeways: fixed transport links across narrow necks of water, some of which are only operative at low tides (e.g. that connecting Cornwall’s St Michael's Mount, St Michael’s Mount to the peninsular mainland) while others (such as the Canso Causeway connecting Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton to the Nova Scotia mainland), are usable all-year-round (aside from interruptions during storm surge periods). Another type of connection is fostered by harbour walls/breakwaters that incorporate offshore islets into their structures, such as those in Sai harbour in northern Honshu, Japan, and the connection to the mainland which transformed Principality of Pontinha, Ilhéu do Diego from an islet. De-islanded through its fixed link to the mainland, the former islet’s name, Ilhéu do Diego, became functionally redundant (and thereby archaic) and the location took the fort as its nomenclative reference point. Some former island sites have retained designations as islands after the draining/subsidence of surrounding waters and their fixed linkage to land (England’s Isle of Ely and Vancouver’s Granville Island being respective cases in point). Their names are thereby archaic in that they reflect the islands’ pasts rather than their present structures and/or transport logistics.


Artificial islands

Almost all of 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 off the Japanese island of Honshu, on which 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). Sometimes natural islands are artificially enlarged, such as 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. 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.


Island superlatives

* Largest island:
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
* Largest island in a lake: Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada ** Largest lake island within a lake island: Treasure Island (Ontario), Treasure Island, in Lake Mindemoya on Manitoulin Island * Largest island in a river: Bananal Island, Tocantins, Brazil * Largest island in fresh water: Marajó, Pará, Brazil * Largest sand island: Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia * Largest uninhabited island: Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada * Most populous island: Java, Indonesia * Lowest island: Franchetti Island, Lake Afrera, Ethiopia * Island shared by largest number of countries:
Borneo Borneo (; id, ) is the third- and the largest in . At the geographic centre of , in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of , west of , and east of . The among three countries: and in the north, and to the south. It ...

Borneo
(Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia) * Island with the highest point:
New Guinea New Guinea (; : ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the , and with an area of , the largest island in the . Located in in the southwestern , it is separated by the wide from . Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east ...

New Guinea
(Puncak Jaya, 4884 m), Indonesia * Northernmost island: Kaffeklubben Island, Greenland * Southernmost island (not fully surrounded by permanent ice): Ross Island, Antarctica * Island with the most populated city: Honshu (Tokyo), Japan * Most remote island (from nearest land): Bouvet Island * Island with earliest known settlement:
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia So ...

Sumatra
(List of countries and islands by first human settlement, Lida Ajer cave), Indonesia


See also

* Desert island * Great wall of sand * Island biogeography * Island ecology * Island country * Island hopping * Lake island * List of islands#List of ancient islands, 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#List of islands by body of water, List of islands by body of water * List of islands#List of islands by continent, List of islands by continent * List of islands#Islands by country, 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 * River island * Rock fever * Small Island Developing States * Tidal island


References


External links


Definition of island
from United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Listing of islands
from United Nations Island Directory. {{Authority control Islands, Coastal and oceanic landforms Fluvial landforms Oceanographical terminology Lacustrine landforms