Key Difference – Island vs Peninsula
Island and Peninsula are two words that are to be understood with difference. When observing the world map, we notice all sorts of geographical formations, the island and peninsula have to be considered as two such formations. In order to comprehend the difference between these two, first we should have a clear idea as to what they mean. Hence first let us define the two words. An island is a piece of land covered on all sides by water whereas a peninsula is a piece of land covered by water on three of its sides. This is the main difference between island and peninsula. Through this article let us examine the differences between an island and a peninsula in detail.
What is an Island?
First let us begin with the word island. An island is a piece of land covered on all sides. Islands usually take a large mass of land. The 16 biggest islands constitute an area more than the whole area of the continent of Europe. There are smaller islands numbering to a few thousand in the world.
One of the chief characteristics of groups of islands is that they are laden with a number of beaches and waterfront houses and ocean front houses. They abound in picturesque beauty.
It is interesting to note that there are four types of islands, namely continental, oceanic, tectonic and coral. Continental islands are those that rise from the continental shelf like the British Isles. Oceanic islands are those that rise from the bottom of the ocean. St. Helena is an example of Oceanic Island. Tectonic islands are those created by movements in the Earth’s crust. Barbados in the West Indies is formed in this way. Coral islands are formed by the action of minute sea organisms called coral polyps. This highlights that there are different types of islands. However, an island is quite different to a peninsula. Now let us look at some of the characteristics of a peninsula in order to distinguish it from an island.
What is a Peninsula?
A peninsula is a piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting far into a sea or lake. The word ‘peninsula’ is derived from the Latin word ‘paeninsula’. An important difference between island and peninsula is that an island is a detached or an isolated part of land whereas a peninsula is not a detached or an isolated part of the land.
Some of the examples of the peninsula are the countries of India and Greenland. India for that matter is covered on the three sides by oceans and seas namely, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. This highlights that there exists a clear difference between an island and a peninsula. This difference can be summed up as follows.
What is the Difference Between an Island and a Peninsula?
Definitions of Island and Peninsula:
Island: An island is a piece of land covered on all sides.
Peninsula: A peninsula is a piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting far into a sea or lake.
Characteristics of Island and Peninsula:
Sides covered by water:
Island: An island is covered on all sides.
Peninsula: A peninsula is a piece of land covered by water on three of its sides.
Detachment from land:
Island: An island is a detached or an isolated part of the land.
Peninsula: A peninsula is not a detached or an isolated part of the land.
1. “Topographic map of Saint Helena-en” by Oona Räisänen (Mysid) – Self-made in Inkscape. Based on several sources:CGIAR-CSI SRTM 90m DEM Digital Elevation databaseSRTM30_PLUS bathymetry by Scripps Institution of OceanographyTopographic map of Saint Helena by Barry Weaver and Jean-Pierre LangerSaint Helena Island, a photograph by NASA Earth Observatory. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons