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tracts of land entirely surrounded by the waters of oceans, seas, lakes, or rivers. Islands differ from continents in that they are relatively small. They occur individually or in groups called archipelagoes.

The islands of oceans and seas are subdivided into continental islands, islands of the transitional zone, and oceanic islands. Continental islands, which rise above sea level from the underwater rim of the continents, include some of the world’s largest islands—Greenland, Kalimantan (Borneo), and Madagascar. They are usually composed of bedrock, although smaller islands may be formed through the accumulation of sediment by the action of waves and tides. Most of the islands of the transitional zones are volcanic; in some areas, however, there are mud volcano islands (for example, in the southern part of the Caspian Sea) and coral islands. Oceanic islands rise up from the ocean floor and mid-ocean ridges, and most are volcanic or coral islands.

The isolation of islands from continents determines the characteristics of their natural features, particularly their fauna and flora. Islands have fewer species than nearby continental areas lying in the same natural zone, and they have a high percentage of endemic species. This is especially true of oceanic islands.

The islands of rivers and lakes are divided into alluvial and erosion islands. The former are created through the accumulation of sediments in a channel or near the shore of a lake, and the latter are formed when river channels flow around an outlier composed of bedrock and alluvium or when a protruding segment

Table 1. The world’s largest archipelagoes and islands
   Area (sq km)
1Partly in the Pacific Ocean 2Partly in the Atlantic Ocean
 Pacific Ocean  
Greater Sunda  1,485,000
Kalimantan (Borneo)  735,000
Sumatra  435,000
Sulawesi (Celebes)  179,400
New Guinea  809,000
Japan  372,200
Honshu approx.228,000
Hokkaido approx.78,000
Philippines approx.300,000
Luzon  105,600
Mindanao  94,600
New Zealand  268,700
South Island  150,500
North Island  115,000
Lesser Sunda  128,000
Molucca  83,700
Sakhalin  76,400
Tasmania approx68,000
Taiwan approx.36,000
HainanAtlantic Ocean 34,000
British Isles approx325,000
Great Britain  218,000
Ireland  84,000
Greater Antilles  209,000
Cuba  105,000
Hispaniola approx.77,000
Newfoundland  112,300
Tierra del Fuego1Indian Oceanapprox72,000
Madagascar  590,000
Sri Lanka (Ceylon)Arctic Ocean 65,600
Greenland2  2,176,000
Canadian Arctic Archipelago2  1,300,000
Baffin  478,000
Victoria  221,000
Ellesmere  212,700
Iceland approx103,000
Novaia Zemlia  83,100
Spitsbergen approx62,000

of land near a lake is cut off by abrasion. (See Table 1 for the area of the world’s largest islands and archipelagoes.)

References in classic literature ?
His favor with Tamahmaah, never declined; and when that sagacious, intrepid, and aspiring chieftain had made himself sovereign over the whole group of islands, and removed his residence to Woahoo, he left his faithful adherent John Young in command of Owyhee.
They directed their course towards the Solomon Islands, and there perished, with everything, on the westerly coast of the chief island of the group, between Capes Deception and Satisfaction.
But at the same time the reader can hardly conceive my astonishment, to behold an island in the air, inhabited by men, who were able (as it should seem) to raise or sink, or put it into progressive motion, as they pleased.
Those who for the first time visit the South Sea, generally are surprised at the appearance of the islands when beheld from the sea.
All these things happened several years ago at a place called Novastoshnah, or North East Point, on the Island of St.
I have little to remark on the zoology of these islands.
But, when about to land the balloon, the consul was informed that the population of the island would oppose their doing so by force.
Drift timber is thrown up on most islands, even on those in the midst of the widest oceans; and the natives of the coral-islands in the Pacific, procure stones for their tools, solely from the roots of drifted trees, these stones being a valuable royal tax.
Now I looked back upon my desolate, solitary island as the most pleasant place in the world and all the happiness my heart could wish for was to be but there again.
So then the Doctor and all his animals went off, carrying pails and saucepans, to look for water on the island, while the swallows took their rest.
At his death the wife went back across the loch to her own people, and the blot on the escutcheon of Island McGill was erased.
The water was three or four foot deep on the island in the low places and on the Illinois bottom.