( ) is a chain or cluster of
that are formed tectonically
. The word archipelago
directly derived from the Greek
-) ("main") and pelagos
("sea"). In Italian, possibly following a tradition of
Archipelago (Greek: Αρχιπέλαγος) was the proper
name for the Aegean
Sea and, later, usage shifted to refer to the Aegean Islands (since the sea is remarkable
for its large number of islands). It is now used to
generally refer to any island group or,
sometimes, to a sea containing a large number of scattered islands
like the Aegean
Types of archipelagos
Archipelagos are usually found in the open sea; less commonly, a
large land mass
may neighbour them.
example, Scotland has more
than 700 islands surrounding its mainland.
, forming along island arcs
generated by subduction zones or
, but there are many other
processes involved in their construction, including erosion
, and land elevation
largest modern countries that are mainly archipelagos are Japan, the
Zealand, the United Kingdom and Indonesia.
The largest archipelago in the world, by
size, is Indonesia. The archipelago with the most islands is the
Sea in Finland, but these
islands are generally small.