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General Discussions => Skepticism / Science Talk => Topic started by: Quetzalcoatl on August 22, 2019, 05:00:30 PM

Title: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Quetzalcoatl 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.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Ah.hell on August 22, 2019, 05:18:55 PM
There is no clear distinction.

Also, in English, Australia is occasionally called an island continent. 
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: John Albert on August 22, 2019, 05:24:17 PM
I thought it had something to do with plate tectonics.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: st3class 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.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Plates_tect2_en.svg/1280px-Plates_tect2_en.svg.png)

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.

Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: arthwollipot on August 22, 2019, 07:33:23 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uBcq1x7P34
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Noisy Rhysling 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.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: arthwollipot 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.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: daniel1948 on August 22, 2019, 09:03:13 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uBcq1x7P34

So Hawai'i is a continent because we have the Pacific Plate! Whoopee!
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: jt512 on August 22, 2019, 09:23:46 PM
When does 1000 Island become a condiment?
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Ah.hell 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?
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: The Latinist on August 23, 2019, 11:03:11 AM
A land mass is a continent when enough people call it a continent.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Shibboleth on August 23, 2019, 12:17:51 PM
I consider Pluto to be the 8th continent.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: amysrevenge on August 23, 2019, 01:55:57 PM
Cultural

Political

Arbitrary
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Shibboleth on August 23, 2019, 02:26:59 PM
I also consider tomatoes to be a continent and not a fruit.
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: bimble on August 23, 2019, 03:30:38 PM
What about the letter 'Y'... continent or vowel??
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Friendly Angel on August 23, 2019, 11:17:03 PM
No man is an island, no man stands alone.
I am a rock, I am an island.
And Iraq feels no pain.

Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: brilligtove on August 24, 2019, 06:06:49 AM
When I print an etching depicting pissing myself in Prague with a Trini accent, I will be incontinent in-continent with ink on tin, ent?
Title: Re: When does an island become a continent?
Post by: Tassie Dave on August 24, 2019, 09:43:07 PM
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?

The Arabian Peninsula, (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives) and Greenland are all considered Sub-continents.

Though if you use the term "subcontinent" in Australia you are almost always referring to the Indian subcontinent.