Author Topic: When does an island become a continent?  (Read 573 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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When does an island become a continent?
« on: August 22, 2019, 05:00:30 pm »
Speaking of Trump and Greenland go me thinking about the definitions of islands and continents. Greenland is considered the world's largest island, in large part because Australia (which is larger) is considered a continent rather than an island.

Is there any clear distinction of when an island becomes continent? If so, what is that? Europe isn't even an island, yet it is considered a continent in its own right. While North American and South America are not separated, the geographical distinction is rather obvious, so it makes sense that they are considered separate continents.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 05:18:55 pm »
There is no clear distinction.

Also, in English, Australia is occasionally called an island continent. 

Offline John Albert

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 05:24:17 pm »
I thought it had something to do with plate tectonics.

Offline st3class

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 05:25:21 pm »
I've heard the distinction that a continent is on it's own tectonic plate, whereas an island is not.



Australia is on its own plate, Greenland is on the North American plate.

The Europe/Asia distinction has always been the odd case. It really should be one continent, but for historical reasons (and I'll leave it at that) they are commonly separated.

It's always more complicated than that.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 07:33:23 pm »
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Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 07:40:05 pm »
Australia is largely uninhabited, and largely uninhabitable. Let them have their glory, let them be a continent.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 07:51:58 pm »
Australia is largely uninhabited, and largely uninhabitable. Let them have their glory, let them be a continent.

There's also the fact that no matter what someone declares about Eurasia or the Americas, no-one disagrees that Australia is its own continent.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 09:03:13 pm »


So Hawai'i is a continent because we have the Pacific Plate! Whoopee!
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Offline jt512

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 09:23:46 pm »
When does 1000 Island become a condiment?
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2019, 09:17:39 am »
If its about plates, explain:
The Arabian Peninsula
Why are the Americas either 1 or 2 continents but nobody says 3?
What's up with India?

Offline The Latinist

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2019, 11:03:11 am »
A land mass is a continent when enough people call it a continent.
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2019, 12:17:51 pm »
I consider Pluto to be the 8th continent.
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Offline amysrevenge

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2019, 01:55:57 pm »
Cultural

Political

Arbitrary
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Offline Shibboleth

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2019, 02:26:59 pm »
I also consider tomatoes to be a continent and not a fruit.
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Offline bimble

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Re: When does an island become a continent?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2019, 03:30:38 pm »
What about the letter 'Y'... continent or vowel??