An archipelago (PronEng|ɑrkəˈpɛləgoʊ) is a chain or cluster of islands. The word "archipelago" literally means "chief sea", from Italian "arcipelago" (IPA|artʃiˈpelago) , derived ultimately from Greek "arkhon" ("arkhi"-) ("leader") and "pelagos" ("sea"). In Italian, possibly following a tradition of antiquity, the 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 Sea. [ cite web|url=ttp:// |title=Archipelago |accessdate=2008-10-02 |date=2008 |publisher=Farlex, Inc. |archiveurl= |archivedate=2008 ]

Types of archipelagos

Archipelagos are usually found in the open sea; less commonly, a large land mass may neighbour them, an example being Scotland which has more than 700 islands surrou Bailey Rocksgenerated by subductions zones or hotspots, but there are many other processes involved in their construction, including erosion, deposition, and land elevation.

The five largest modern states that are mainly archipelagos are Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Indonesia (the world's largest archipelagic state according to the CIA World Factbook) [] .

The largest archipelago in the world by size is the Canadian Arctic Archipelago of Northern Canada. It is situated in the Arctic Ocean.fact|date=May 2008 The archipelago with most islands is the Archipelago Sea in Finland, but these islands are, on average, small.

ee also

*Island arc
*Earth science
*List of landforms
*Plate tectonics
*Island nation
*The World
* Lists of islands: see List of archipelagos and List of islands


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