Islands: Wikis

  

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Pulau" redirects here, not to be confused with the island nation of Palau.
A small Fijian island.
Sazan, the largest island of Albania.
A small Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea
An island in the Seine river (France)
A small island in Lower Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks in the U.S.

An island (pronounced /ˈaɪlənd/) or isle (/ˈaɪl/) is any piece of land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls are called islets. A key or cay is another name for a small island or islet. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot, /ˈaɪ.ət/. There are two main types of islands: continental islands and oceanic islands. There are also artificial islands. A grouping of geographically and/or geologically related islands is called an archipelago.

The word island comes from Old English igland (from 'ig', similarly meaning 'island' when used independently, and -land carrying its contemporary meaning). However, the spelling of the word was modified in the 15th century by association with the etymologically unrelated Old French loanword isle, which itself comes from the latin word insula.[1] Old English 'ig' is actually a cognate of Latin aqua (water).[2]

Contents

Characteristics

There is no standard of size which distinguishes islands from islets and continents.

When defining islands as pieces of land that are surrounded by water, narrow bodies of water like rivers and canals are often, but not always, left out of consideration[citation needed]. For instance, in France the Canal du Midi connects the Garonne river to the Mediterranean Sea, thereby completing a continuous water connection from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. So technically, the land mass that includes the Iberian Peninsula and the part of France that is south of the Garonne River and the Canal du Midi is surrounded by water. For a completely natural example, the Orinoco River splits into two branches near Tamatama, in Amazonas state, Venezuela. The southern branch flows south and joins the Rio Negro, and then the Amazon. Thus, all of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana) and substantial parts of Brazil and Venezuela are surrounded by (river or ocean) water. These instances are not generally considered islands. However, small pieces of land bordered by rivers are considered islands. This also helps explain why Africa-Eurasia can be seen as one continuous landmass (and thus technically the biggest island): generally the Suez Canal is not seen as something that divides the land mass in two.

On the other hand, an island may still be described as such despite the presence of a land bridge, e.g., Singapore and its causeway or the various Dutch delta Islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names after being connected to a larger landmass by a wide land bridge, such as Coney Island. The retaining of the island description may therefore be to some degree simply due to historical reasons - though the land bridges are often of a different geological nature (for example sand instead of stone), and thus the islands remain islands in a more scientific sense as well.

Types of island

Continental islands

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay

Continental islands are bodies of land that lie on the continental shelf of a continent. Examples include Greenland and Sable Island off North America; Barbados and Trinidad off South America; Great Britain, Ireland and Sicily off Europe; Sumatra, Borneo and Java off Asia; and New Guinea, Tasmania and Kangaroo Island off Australia.

A special type of continental island is the microcontinental island, which results when a continent is rifted. Examples are Madagascar and Socotra off Africa; New Zealand; the Kerguelen Islands; and some of the Seychelles.

Another subtype is an island or bar formed by deposition of tiny rocks where a water current loses some of its carrying capacity. An example is barrier islands, which are accumulations of sand deposited by sea currents on the continental shelf. Another example is islands in river deltas or in 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 are very small islands.

Oceanic islands

The islands of Hawai'i are volcanic islands.
Fernando de Noronha are submerged mountains islands.
Wake Island is a volcanic island that has become an atoll.

Oceanic islands are ones that do not sit on continental shelves. The vast majority are volcanic in origin. The few oceanic islands that are not volcanic are tectonic in origin and arise where plate movements have lifted up the deep ocean floor to above the surface. Examples of this include Saint Peter and Paul Rocks in the Atlantic Ocean and 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 include the Mariana Islands, the Aleutian Islands and most of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the Lesser Antilles and the South Sandwich Islands are the only Atlantic Ocean examples.

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 to Kure, which then extends 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 hot spot 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 include the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Line Islands in the Pacific.

Tropical islands

There are approximately 45,000 tropical islands on Earth.[3] Among coral tropic islands for example are Maldives, Tonga, Nauru and Polynesia.[3] Granite islands include Seychelles and Tioman.[3] The socio-economic diversity of these regions ranges from the Stone Age societies in the interior of Madagascar, Borneo or Papua New Guinea to the high-tech lifestyles of the city-islands of Singapore and Hong Kong. The international tourism is a significant factor in the local economy of Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Réunion, Hawaii or Maldives.

Desert islands

A desert island is an island with no people. Typically, a desert island is denoted as such because it exists in a state of being deserted, or abandoned. Note that an arid desert climate is not typically implied; one dictionary uses the phrase 'desert island' to illustrate the use of 'desert' as an adjective meaning "desolate and sparsely occupied or unoccupied".[4] According to another, "A desert island is a small tropical island, where nobody lives or an undiscovered island[5]

See also

Long Island from space. Outer barrier can be seen below the main island.
Subterranean isle in Križna jama

References

  1. ^ "Island". Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Island. Retrieved 2007-03-05. 
  2. ^ Ringe, Donald A. (2006). A Linguistic History of English: From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic. Oxford University Press. p. 109. ISBN 019928413X. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Tropical Islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans". Epub.oeaw.ac.at. http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/2738-3. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster Online, "desert" definition 2
  5. ^ Collins Cobuild Dictionary (1995)

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Island nations article)

From Wikitravel

Island nations and territories tend to defy a tidy geographical hierarchy. On a planet covered 70% by interconnected oceans, in a literal sense every place is an island. But the really big ones we think of as continents, leaving the smaller islands – scattered far and wide – as the "leftovers" of geography. Which often makes them some of the most unique and interesting destinations.

These region articles attempt to group them logically for the traveler (sometimes bending official geography to do so):


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also islands

German

Proper noun

Islands

  1. Genitive singular form of Island.

Simple English

Redirecting to Island








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