Why isn't greenland a continent?

So, I've been wondering this for a while. Why isn't Greenland a continent when it is bigger than both europe and Australia?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is not connected to Canada by land but it is part of the North American tectonic plate. The water way that separates it from the North American mainland was carved out by giant glaciers in the last few ice ages. Otherwise, it would probably be attached by a land bridge.

    The term "continent" is sort of like the term "planet". As we discovered the world we used the term continent to describe general areas. The recent revision of Pluto to a minor planet or planetoid illustrates that these terms are plastic and can be revised in their use.

    Along the same lines typically Europe and Asia are today often referred to as the Euro-Asian continent.

    But it could be more appropriate to refer to the tectonic plates as the ways the land masses should be divided. Ironically this means that a large chunk of eastern Siberia is part of North America plate, and that alone shows that the term continent can mean anything you want it to mean.

    Greenland is could be called a subcontinent or mini-continent., or, choke, "continoid", if you like. But currency of use would make your use of that term to appear to be silly. Not that that stopped anyone.

    Finally, tectonic plates do not always provide the best reference. For example Australia and India are part of the same tectonic plate yet they are so far from each other that it almost appears to be silly to treat them, for geographical purposes, as though they were one thing.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Actually.. one could ask.. why is Australia a continent and Greenland is NOT...

    The primary reason for granting Australia continental status seems to be geological. Australia, which is often called the "island continent," sits on its own tectonic plate, while Greenland is geologically part of North America. Australia also has completely unique flora and fauna, while Greenland's wildlife is shared with North America.

    That being said, there's no final answer on this one. Geologically, Madagascar could be defined as a continent. And when you think about it, Europe might seem like just a group of peninsulas extending westward from Asia. The dictionary simply defines Australia as a continent and an "island" as anything surrounded by water that's smaller than a continent

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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    RE:

    Why isn't greenland a continent?

    So, I've been wondering this for a while. Why isn't Greenland a continent when it is bigger than both europe and Australia?

    Source(s): isn 39 greenland continent: https://tr.im/IJ6oY
  • jhstha
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Because it isn't part of an "own" continental shelf.

    Besides it is declared an island and belongs politically to the small Kingdom of Denmark, a small country in Europe between Germany and Norway / Sweden

    Oh, and one more, I do not know where you got your information from, but look at a map and you will see, that Greenland is SMALLER than Europe or Australia. To tell Greenland would be bigger than any of the continents is just absolutely nonsense.

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/35xpQ

    What is Japan ? is it a continent also ? What is Russia ? Is it a continent also ? Greenland is a Contry ! in North America

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Greenland is not as big as it looks. The distortion in relative size is due to the Mercator Projection used to show the earth. As you get further North or South of the equator (latitude) the longitude lines (North and South) get further apart. So, Greenland looks enormous but it isn't!

    Source(s): An old Navigator
  • 5 years ago

    well greenland really isnt that big its a 4th of the size of china the maps are not scaled correctly to actual size because of the globe shape but arent we all just islands like the americas are separate

  • sarell
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Because it is part of a group of Islands and they form the continent.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's connected to Canada or something.

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