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?

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2009-09-19 07:30:51


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

  • Why should Australia be considered a continent and Greenland an

    island? The answer is not clear-cut, but there are rational reasons

    behind it.

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"

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