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   » » Wiki: Archipelago
Tag Wiki 'Archipelago'.
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in (Myanmar).]]An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of , or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands.

, , , the , , , the , , , the Florida Keys, , , the , the and the are all examples of well-known archipelagos.


Word origin
The word archipelago is derived from the ἄρχι- ( arkhi-, "chief") and πέλαγος ( pélagos, "sea") through the Italian arcipelago. In , possibly following a tradition of antiquity, the Archipelago (from *ἀρχιπέλαγος and archipelagus) was the proper name for the and, later, usage shifted to refer to the (since the sea is remarkable for its large number of islands).


Geographic types
Archipelagos may be found isolated in large amounts of water or neighbouring a large land mass. For example, has more than 700 islands surrounding its mainland which form an archipelago.

Archipelagos are often volcanic, forming along island arcs generated by subduction zones or hotspots, but may also be the result of , deposition, and . Depending on their geological origin, islands forming archipelagos can be referred to as oceanic islands, continental fragments, and continental islands.Whittaker R. J. & Fernández-Palacios J. M. (2007) Island Biogeography: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation. New York, Oxford University Press


Oceanic islands
Oceanic islands are mainly of volcanic origin, and widely separated from any adjacent continent. The Hawai'ian Islands and in the , and Île Amsterdam in the south are examples.


Continental fragments
Continental fragments correspond to land masses that have separated from a continental mass due to displacement. The off the coast of are an example.


Continental archipelagos
Sets of islands formed close to the coast of a continent are considered continental archipelagos when they form part of the same continental shelf, when those islands are above-water extensions of the shelf. The islands of the off the coast of are an example.


Further examples
The largest archipelagic state in the world by area, and by population, is .


See also
  • List of landforms
  • List of archipelagos by number of islands
  • List of archipelagos
  • List of islands


External links

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