How big does an island have to be to be considered a continent For example Greenland is considered an island and Australia is a continent?
Many people have responses for what an "island" is, but don't
often describe what a "continent" is. One definition from
- (a.) One of the grand divisions of land on the globe; the main
land; specifically (Phys. Geog.), a large body of land differing
from an island, not merely in its size, but in its structure, which
is that of a large basin bordered by mountain chains; as, the
continent of North America.
By that definition, it is not an island's size that makes it
also a continent, but what separates it from its surroundings. It
is also what helps Europe be considered a continent, even though
there is no way it could ever be considered an island itself).
To answer the specific question regarding Australia and
Greenland, see http://www.worldislandinfo.com/CONTISLAND.html:
- Why should Australia be considered a continent and Greenland an
island? The answer is not clear-cut, but there are rational reasons
It is surrounded by water, so yes - but it is so big it is a
continent. Being a continent is deemed to mean that it is no longer
'considered' an island.
Australia is not the only part of the Continent. Borneo and a whole
slew of other islands are also part of the "Australian Continent"