Continental crustal fragments, partially synonymous with microcontinents, are pieces of continents that have broken off from main continental masses to form distinct islands and often several hundred kilometers from their place of origin. Continental fragments include some seamounts and underwater plateaus. Some microcontinents are fragments of Gondwana or other ancient cratonic continents; some examples include Madagascar; the northern Mascarene Plateau, which includes the Seychelles microcontinent; and the island of Timor. Other islands, such as several in the Caribbean Sea, are composed largely of granitic rock as well, but all continents contain both granitic and basaltic crust, and there is no clear dividing line between islands and microcontinents under such a definition. The Kerguelen Plateau is a large igneous province formed by a volcanic hotspot; however, it was associated with the breakup of Gondwana and was for a time above water, so it is considered a microcontinent, though not a continental fragment.UT Austin scientist plays major rule in study of underwater "micro-continent".
Retrieved on 2007-07-03
Other hotspot islands such as Iceland and Hawaii are considered neither microcontinents nor continental fragments. Not all islands can be considered microcontinents: the British Isles, Sri Lanka, Borneo, and Newfoundland, for example, are each within the continental shelf of an adjacent continent, separated from the mainland by inland seas flooding its margins. Several islands in the eastern Indonesian Archipelago are considered continental fragments, although this designation is controversial. These include Sumba, Timor (Nusa Tenggara), Banggai-Sulu Islands (Sulawesi), Obi, southern Bacan, and the Buru-Seram-Ambon complex (Maluku).

List of continental fragments and microcontinents

;Continental fragments (pieces of Pangaea smaller than Australia) * * * * * * * ** * * Parts of * Possibly Sumba, Timor, and other islands of eastern Indonesia; Sulawesi formed via the subduction of a microcontinent * * * * ;Other microcontinents (formed post-Pangaea) * * Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and other granitic Caribbean islands *


{{Continents of Earth Category:Plate tectonics Fragments