How are river islands formed
An island is a piece of land surrounded by water. Some islands are in the sea, others in a river or lake. There are innumerable islands on earth, many of them very small. Greenland is the largest island in the world, five times the size of Germany.
Huge land masses like Australia look like islands from space. But they are called continents and not islands because they are so big. In addition to the natural islands, there are the artificial islands that have been built by humans.
So what exactly is an island?
An island must be firmly attached to the ground. Something that swims is not an island, but a scrub, for example. The island must also be constantly above the water. A piece of land that submerges in high waves and high tide and disappears for a while is not an island.
Sometimes a piece of land protrudes into the water. This is called a headland. If headlands are much wider at the end than their connection to the mainland, then one speaks of a peninsula. The peninsula is surrounded by water almost everywhere, just not in one place.
An artificial dam, a long narrow strip of land, leads to the German island of Sylt. Rails have even been built on it so that trains can go to the island. Is Sylt still an island? Yes, because people built the dam, it doesn't come from nature.
Do people live on all islands?
Most of the islands are very small that not even a single house would fit on them. Other islands are located in very hot or cold parts of the world where nobody wants to live. You would have to bring something to eat there first.
There is no island with more people than Java, namely 133 million. Java belongs to Indonesia. The whole country of Indonesia consists only of islands or parts of islands.
An island can also be in the middle of a city with a river flowing through it. Sometimes a river splits into several arms. Even if the land in between doesn't necessarily look like an island, it is still one. The Danube Island in Vienna was created by people and even has its own underground station.
There are also large islands that were created by humans, but where nobody actually lives. Chubu Airport in Japan is located on such an island. There was no more free land nearby, so a new island had to be created in the sea.
Which are the most famous islands in Central Europe?
Germany has a number of islands next to each other on the North Sea coast. In Lower Saxony these are the East Frisian Islands and in Schleswig-Holstein the North Frisian Islands. A special feature is Heligoland, which is the furthest away from the sea coast. Germany's largest island is located in the Baltic Sea: Rügen. You can easily drive there over a bridge.
In the interior of Germany, so far from the coast, there are also islands. The Mouse Tower Island in the river Rhine is not the largest, but one of the most famous. An old tower from the Middle Ages stands on this uninhabited island.
Austria and Switzerland have no coast, but lakes. Well known in Austria is the Attersee with the Litzlberg Castle, which stands there on a small island. The largest island in Switzerland can be found in Lake Zurich: the Ufenau.
The island of Surtsey near Iceland was created by a volcanic eruption. Photo from 1963.
Like Thule, Atlantis is a so-called phantom island, which probably never existed.
Fogo is one of the Cape Verde Islands. You can easily see the cone of a volcano. The island was only created by a volcanic eruption.
Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island in France with an abbey on it. The tidal island is an island only at high tide.
A Galapagos giant tortoise: Sometimes an animal species grows very large on an island because it has no enemies there. Island gigantism is what they call it.
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