Difference Between Peninsula and Island

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What is a Peninsula?

A peninsula is almost surrounded by water, but is connected to a nearby landmass by a small stretch of land. A good example is the Katchatka peninsula in eastern Russia.

In other words, A peninsula is a piece of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water but is connected to the mainland on one side. The surrounding water is usually understood to be continuous, though not necessarily named as a body of water. A river which courses through a very tight meander is also sometimes said to form a “peninsula” within the (almost closed) loop of water. 

Peninsulas are found on every continent. In North America, the narrow peninsula of Baja California, in Mexico, separates the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, also called the Gulf of California. In Europe, the nations of Portugal and Spain make up the Iberian Peninsula. The so-called Horn of Africa, which juts into the Arabian Sea on central Africas east coast, is a huge peninsula. The nations of North Korea and South Korea make up the Korean Peninsula in eastern Asia. In Australia, the Cape York Peninsula is only 160 kilometers (99 miles) from the island of New Guinea. The Antarctic Peninsula seems to point to the tip of South America, several hundred kilometers (miles) away.

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What is an Island?

An Island is completely surrounded by water and cannot be reached by land. Familiar islands include Madagascar, the Hawaiian Islands, Greenland, Cuba, Ireland, Great Britain, and Manhattan. The Bahamas, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and New Zealand are nations made up of islands. A group of related islands, such as the Philippines, is called an archipelago.

There are two types of islands:

  • Continental islands
  • Oceanic islands

Continental islands are areas of the continental shelf that have become isolated because of a rise in sea level. For example, Tasmania is part of the Australian continent that was cut off by the ocean waters forming the Bass Strait. Oceanic islands form as volcanoes erupt on the ocean floor. Iceland and the Hawaiian Islands are oceanic islands. Sometimes coral reefs form where ocean waters are shallow, eventually building up exposed island land called an atoll.

Also Read: Difference Between Himalayan And Peninsula Rivers

Peninsula Vs Island In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON PENINSULA ISLAND
Description A peninsula is a piece of land almost entirely surrounded by water, but it is connected to a nearby landmass by a small stretch of land. Island is a piece of land that is completely surrounded by water and cannot be reached by land.
Existence Peninsula exists independently. Island generally exist in groups.  
Types Types of peninsula include: headlands, cape, promontory, bill, point and split. There are two types of islands: Oceanic and continental.
Formation Peninsulas are formed due to the gradual rise in water level surrounding a land. Continental islands are formed when a part of the mainland breaks off and moves away towards the water. The oceanic ones are formed by volcano or corals.  
Nature It is attached to large landform on one side. It not attached to land on any of the sides.
Access Peninsulas can be accessed by land, air and water. Islands can only be accessed by air and water.
Habitation A peninsula is usually inhabited. Continental islands are generally inhabited whereas the oceanic islands are more often uninhabited.
Size Peninsula usually cover a significant geographical area.   Islands can either be small or large.
Examples Florida, Italian main land, Spain, Indochina etc. Cuba, New Guinea, Great Britain, Barbados, Sicily, Trinidad, Kangaroo etc.  

Conclusion

An Island is completely surrounded by water and cannot be reached by land. A peninsula is almost surrounded by water, but is connected to a nearby landmass by a small stretch of land.

Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean Sea whereas the state of Florida in the United States is a peninsula. It is attached to the continent of North America, but it juts out into the water, and in surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean-including the Gulf of Mexico-on three sides.

Climate change is also a growing threat to islands. Because they are so susceptible to rising sea level, islands are in danger of flooding should sea levels rise. Encroaching seawater may also contaminate fresh water sources on islands. The numerous islands of the Pacific, including those of Tuvalu, are threatened by rising sea levels. Warming seas also damage coral reefs and the diverse ecosystems they support.