Difference Between Archipelago and Island

Both the terms archipelago and island are found in or around water bodies. An archipelago is defined as a cluster of many island whereas an island is a part of land which is surrounded by water completely. Sometimes, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two terms. Let us discuss the major distinguishing features between archipelago and island in detail.

Archipelago vs Island

The main difference between an archipelago and island is that the former is formed when large number of islands are combined together whereas the latter is a part of land which is surrounded by water bodies and gives rise to an archipelago.

Archipelago and Island

An archipelago is formed due to the joining of lots of islands and they vary greatly in their sizes. These can also be referred to as chain of islands or island cluster on the basis of their formation. There are number of archipelagos present all over the world which have a great tourist attraction as well.

An island is a large part of land which is surrounded by water bodies, small or large. These can be formed due to the deposition of coral exoskeleton over a time. They vary in their area of land due to which some islands can be small and some of them can be large in size. One of the most common example of an island is Hawaii island in the United States.

Comparison Table Between Archipelago and Island

Parameters of Comparison  Archipelago Island  
Definition It is formed by the clusters of islands  It is a part of land which is surrounded by water bodies.  
Attraction An archipelago has more attractive beaches and tourist spots In comparison to the former it does not have as many attractive spots
Relation with water bodiesThe archipelago is closely scattered in a body of waterIslands are surrounded by water bodies
Largest in the world  The largest archipelago in the world is Malay Archipelago (waters of Persian GulfGreenland is the largest island in the world. 
Examples Hawaiian archipelago, Galapagos archipelago   Baffin island, New Guinea  

What is Archipelago ?

An archipelago can be defined as a group of islands that gets scattered into different forms of water sources such as lakes, rivers or oceans. The formation of the archipelago is due to the eruption of volcanoes from the floor of the ocean. These eruptions take place for a longer period and then lead to the formation of an archipelago. Most of the time, an archipelago is found in oceans but in some cases, they can also be found in smaller water bodies such as lakes or rivers.

Some of them are also formed by the deposition of several materials. Some of the examples of archipelago across the world are the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Caribbean Island, Florida keys, Galapagos Archipelago, Hawaiian Archipelago and many more. The largest archipelago in the world is the Malay Archipelago which is known to be a result of glacial retreat.

Archipelagos can be of different types such as continental island and continental fragments. They can also be formed due to volcanic eruptions. The largest country archipelago in Indonesia is a part of the Malay archipelago. Some of the archipelagoes have a leisure appearance which is important for tourism in a country, and they also help in the conservation of wildlife.

What is Island ?

Islands are surrounded by water bodies and they do not connect to any land of the continent. When a large number of islands come together with their group forms an archipelago. The islands which are small in size are referred to as islets. These islands can be divided into two forms – oceanic and continental. Islands that rise from the surface of the ocean are called oceanic islands. Continental islands on the other hand are unsubmerged parts of the land which are surrounded by water bodies. One of the most common example of an island is Hawaii island in the United States. The largest islands in the world are Greenland.

New Guinea, Baffin island etc. Ilha Island is considered the largest island located in a river. They vary in their area of land due to which some islands can be small and some of them can be large in size. Another form of the island is a coral island which is formed by the collection of the skeleton of corals over some time.

Main Difference Between Archipelago and Island

  1. An archipelago is defined as a cluster of islands whereas an island can be defined as a part of the land which is surrounded by water completely.
  2. The area of an archipelago is more than an island because it is just a part of an archipelago.
  3. The archipelago is more beautiful as compared to an island and it also attracts more tourist visions.
  4. An example of an archipelago is The Caribbean Archipelago and an example of an island is the Trinidad (southernmost) island of the Caribbean Archipelago.
  5. The archipelago is closely scattered in a body of water whereas islands are surrounded by water bodies.

Conclusion

Both the terms, archipelago and island are different from each other in many ways. On the basis of their size and composition as well as how they are formed and the amount of water they are surrounded by, they can be distinguished from each other. An archipelago can be simply defined as a cluster of island which is not completely surrounded by water bodies whereas an island is a part of land, big or small, which is completely surrounded by water bodies. They serve as an important tourist spot across the globe.

Reference

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00317210
  2. https://eprints.utas.edu.au/12221/
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