Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Artificial Islands

  • Marcel J. F. StiveEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_14-2


Islands are defined as a relatively small land surface, surrounded by water. The largest island, Greenland, has a surface, which is still four times smaller than that of the smallest continent, Australia. The total surface of the earth’s islands approximates 10 million km2, which is comparable to Europe’s total surface area.

It is common to distinguish between continental and oceanic islands. Continental islands are considered part of a continent when they are located on the associated continental shelf. Oceanic islands, in contrast, do not belong to a continental shelf. The majority of oceanic islands are of volcanic origin. Some oceanic islands (e.g., Madagascar, Greenland, Zealandia) could be considered as subcontinents, which have been separated from larger continents through tectonic processes.

All realizations of artificial or man-made islands as constructed so far are close to shores on relatively shallow water either in intertidal zones, in bays, on the shoreface, or...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty Civil Engineering and GeosciencesDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands