An island is defined as any piece of land that is completely surrounded by water. Islands can occur in any body of water from oceans to lakes. A group of islands is known as an archipelago. There are two main types of islands: continental islands and oceanic islands. Continental islands are those which sit on the edge of a continental shelf. Oceanic islands are islands which do not exist along the edge of a continental shelf. Islands have also been made artificially by countries that require more space. There are over 180,497 islands worldwide though it is difficult to get an exact number as many islands are no bigger than large dining table. Of all these islands which one is the largest? Read on to discover the answer.
The Largest Island in the World
There are two ways to answer this question. Using the definition that an island is any landmass surrounded completely by water, Australia is the largest island in the world. It measures a total of 7,617,930 square kilometres (2,941,300 sq mi) and can be found in the southern hemisphere. Australia has 34,218 kilometres (21,262 mi) of coastline and a population of 22,610,435 people. Australia is also the world’s smallest continent. The island of Australia sits on the Indo-Australian Plate and is surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Australia is often discounted as the largest island in the world due to the fact that it is a continent in its own right.
If you define an island as a landmass surrounded by water that is not a continent, then Greenland is the largest island in the world. It has a total area of 840,004 square miles (2,175,600 km2) and can be found in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to its harsh climate Greenland has a population of just 56,452 people. Greenland is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay.
Top Five Largest Islands in the World
This list consists of the top five largest islands in the world that are not continents, thus Australia is not included:
- Greenland – 840,004 square miles – 2,175,600 sq km
- New Guinea -312,167 square miles – 808,510 sq km
- Borneo- 287,863 square miles – 745,561 sq km
- Madagascar – 226,657 square miles – 587,040 sq km
- Baffin Island – 195,927 square miles – 507,451 sq km