What’s an archipelago?

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West of British Columbia, Canada, and south of the Yukon Territory, the southeastern coastline of Alaska trails off into the islands of the Alexander Archipelago. Photo Credit: NASA

An archipelago is an space that comprises a series or group of islands scattered in lakes, rivers, or the ocean.

The phrase “archipelago” comes from the medieval Italian phrase archi, that means chief or principal, and the Greek phrase pelagus, that means gulf, pool, or pond.

Most archipelagos are shaped when volcanoes erupt from the ocean ground; these are referred to as oceanic islands. The islands of the Hawaiian archipelago, for instance, had been shaped by a collection of volcanic eruptions that started greater than 80 million years in the past and are nonetheless lively at this time.

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