Artificial island

Artificial island

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An artificial
Artificial
See also: Synthetic ' or ' may refer to:* Artificial beaches* Artificial chemistry* Artificial consciousness* Artificial creation* Artificial elements* Artificial flower* Artificial food* Artificial fuel* Artificial harmonic...

 island
or man-made island is an island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 or archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

 that has been constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. They are created by expanding existing islets, construction on existing reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s, or amalgamating several natural islets into a bigger island.

Early artificial islands included floating
Floating island
A floating island is a mass of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat ranging in thickness from a few inches to several feet. Floating islands are a common natural phenomenon that are found in many parts of the world. They exist less commonly as a man-made phenomenon...

 structures in still waters, or wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en or megalith
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

ic structures erected in shallow waters (e.g., crannóg
Crannog
A crannog is typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Scotland and Ireland. Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia from the European Neolithic Period, to as late as the 17th/early 18th century although in Scotland,...

s and Nan Madol
Nan Madol
Nan Madol is a ruined city that lies off the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei that was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until about AD 1500. It is in the present day Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state, in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. The city...

 discussed below). In modern times artificial islands are usually formed by land reclamation
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

, but some are formed by the incidental isolation of an existing piece of land during canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 construction (e.g. Donauinsel
Donauinsel
The Donauinsel is a long, narrow island, in central Vienna, Austria, between the Danube river and the parallel excavated channel Neue Donau . The island is 21.1 km in length, but is only 70–210 metres broad...

 and Dithmarschen
Dithmarschen
Dithmarschen is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Flensburg, Rendsburg-Eckernförde, and Steinburg, by the state of Lower Saxony , and by the North Sea.-Geography:The district is located on the North Sea...

), or flooding of valleys resulting in the tops of former knolls getting isolated by water (e.g. Barro Colorado Island
Barro Colorado Island
Barro Colorado Island is located in the man-made Gatun Lake in the middle of the Panama Canal. The island was formed when the waters of the Chagres River were dammed to form the lake. When the waters rose, they covered a significant part of the existing rainforest, and the hilltops remained as...

).

Some recent developments have been made more in the manner of oil platform
Oil platform
An oil platform, also referred to as an offshore platform or, somewhat incorrectly, oil rig, is a lаrge structure with facilities to drill wells, to extract and process oil and natural gas, and to temporarily store product until it can be brought to shore for refining and marketing...

s (e.g., Sealand
Principality of Sealand
The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognized entity, located on HM Fort Roughs, a former World War II Maunsell Sea Fort in the North Sea 10 km off the coast of Suffolk, England, United Kingdom ....

 and Republic of Rose Island
Republic of Rose Island
The Republic of Rose Island was a short-lived micronation on a man-made platform in the Adriatic Sea, 11 km off the coast of the province of Forlì, Italy....

).

Artificial islands may vary in size from small islets reclaimed solely to support a single pillar of a building or structure, to those that support entire communities and cities.

History


Despite a popular image of modernity, artificial islands actually have a long history in many parts of the world, dating back to the crannog
Crannog
A crannog is typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Scotland and Ireland. Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia from the European Neolithic Period, to as late as the 17th/early 18th century although in Scotland,...

s of prehistoric Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, the ceremonial centers of Nan Madol
Nan Madol
Nan Madol is a ruined city that lies off the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei that was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until about AD 1500. It is in the present day Madolenihmw district of Pohnpei state, in the Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. The city...

 in Micronesia
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia or FSM is an independent, sovereign island nation, made up of four states from west to east: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It comprises approximately 607 islands with c...

 and the still extant floating island
Floating island
A floating island is a mass of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat ranging in thickness from a few inches to several feet. Floating islands are a common natural phenomenon that are found in many parts of the world. They exist less commonly as a man-made phenomenon...

s of Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world...

. The city of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 predecessor of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 that was home to 500,000 people when the Spaniards arrived, stood on a small natural island in Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco was a natural lake formation within the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs built the city of Tenochtitlan on an island in the lake. The Spaniards built Mexico City over Tenochtitlan...

 that was surrounded by countless artificial chinamitl
Chinampa
Chinampa is a method of ancient Mesoamerican agriculture which used small, rectangle-shaped areas of fertile arable land to grow crops on the shallow lake beds in the Valley of Mexico.-Description:...

islands.

Many artificial islands have been built in urban
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 harbor
Harbor
A harbor or harbour , or haven, is a place where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or else are stored for future use. Harbors can be natural or artificial...

s to provide either a site deliberately isolated from the city or just spare real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 otherwise unobtainable in a crowded metropolis. An example of the first case is Dejima
Dejima
was a small fan-shaped artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki in 1634. This island, which was formed by digging a canal through a small peninsula, remained as the single place of direct trade and exchange between Japan and the outside world during the Edo period. Dejima was built to...

 (or Deshima), created in the bay of Nagasaki in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Edo period
Edo period
The , or , is a division of Japanese history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family, running from 1603 to 1868. The political entity of this period was the Tokugawa shogunate....

 as a contained center for Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an merchants
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

. During the isolationist era, Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 people were generally banned from Nagasaki and Japanese from Dejima. Similarly, Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

, in Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

 beside New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, a former tiny islet greatly expanded by land reclamation, served as an isolated immigration center for the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in the late 19th and early 20th century, preventing an escape to the city of those refused entry for disease or other perceived flaws, who might otherwise be tempted toward illegal immigration. One of the most well-known artificial islands is the Île Notre-Dame
Île Notre-Dame
Île Notre-Dame is an artificial island built in 10 months from 15 million tons of rock excavated for the Montreal Metro in 1965. It was created for Expo 67 to celebrate Canada's centennial. The island is part of the city of Montreal and forms part of the Hochelaga Archipelago...

 in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, built for Expo 67
Expo 67
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was the general exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with the...

.

The Venetian Islands
Venetian Islands, Miami Beach, Florida
The Venetian Islands are a chain of artificial islands in Biscayne Bay in the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, Florida. The islands are, from west to east: Biscayne Island , San Marco Island , San Marino Island , Di Lido Island , Rivo Alto Island , and Belle Isle...

 in Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter which separates the Beach from Miami city proper...

, in Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay is a lagoon that is approximately 35 miles long and up to 8 miles wide located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida, United States. It is usually divided for purposes of discussion and analysis into three parts: North Bay, Central Bay, and South Bay. Its area is...

 added valuable new real estate during the Florida land boom of the 1920s
Florida land boom of the 1920s
The Florida land boom of the 1920s was Florida's first real estate bubble, which burst in 1925, leaving behind entire new cities and the remains of failed development projects such as Aladdin City in south Miami-Dade County and Isola di Lolando in north Biscayne Bay...

. When the bubble that the developers were riding burst, the bay was left scarred with the remnants of their failed project. A boom town development company was building a sea wall for an island that was to be called Isola di Lolando
Isola di Lolando
A Miami real estate bubble burst in the mid 1920s as a land boom fueled by outside speculators was stricken by economic realities and unexpected hurricanes. One failed development project left its remains scarring north Biscayne Bay near Miami Beach, Florida...

 but could not stay in business after the 1926 Miami Hurricane
1926 Miami Hurricane
The 1926 Miami hurricane was a Category 4 hurricane that devastated Miami in September 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. state of Alabama, and the Bahamas...

 and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, dooming the island-building project. The concrete pilings from the project still stand as another development boom roared around them, 80 years later.

The largest artificial islands according to their size

# Name Size (km²) Country Utilisation
1 Flevopolder
Flevopolder
The Flevopolder is a region entirely conquered on the water. This territory consists of the Estern Flevoland and Southern Flevoland. The Flevopolder, contrary to what the name suggests, is a unique polder...

 
Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 
towns, agriculture
2 Yas Island
Yas Island
Yas Island is an island in Abu Dhabi.The island is the site of a US$36 billion development project by Aldar Properties. It occupies a total land area of 2,500 hectares, of which 1,700 hectares will be claimed for development. The island contains the Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts the Formula One...

 
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 
Yas Marina Circuit
3 Palm Jebel Ali
Palm Jebel Ali
The Palm Jebel Ali are artificial archipelago, and began construction in October 2002 and were expected to be completed in mid 2008 though as of 2011 construction is on hold. The Palm Jebel Ali is expected to accommodate 1.7 million people by 2020. Once it has been completed, it will be encircled...

 
Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 
under construction
4 Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Chubu Centrair International Airport
is an airport on an artificial island in Ise Bay, Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture, south of Nagoya in central Japan.Centrair is classified as a first class airport and is the main international gateway for the Chūbu region of Japan...

 
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
Airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

5 Palm Jumeirah
Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government in United Arab Emirates. It is one of three islands called the Palm Islands which extend into the Persian Gulf, increasing Dubai’s shoreline by a total of...

 
Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 
housing
Housing
Housing may refer to:* A House* Social or public housing* Enclosure containing some equipment or mechanism*House dance...

6 Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport
is an international airport located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, southwest of Ōsaka Station, located within three municipalities, including Izumisano , Sennan , and Tajiri , in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The airport is off the Honshu shore. The airport serves as an...

 
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
Airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...


Modern projects


In 1969, the Flevopolder
Flevopolder
The Flevopolder is a region entirely conquered on the water. This territory consists of the Estern Flevoland and Southern Flevoland. The Flevopolder, contrary to what the name suggests, is a unique polder...

 in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 was finished, as part of the Zuiderzee Works
Zuiderzee Works
The Zuiderzee Works are a manmade system of dams, land reclamation and water drainage works, the largest hydraulic engineering project undertaken by the Netherlands during the twentieth century. The project involved the damming of the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, and the...

. This island consists of the polders Eastern Flevoland and Southern Flevoland
Flevoland
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. Located in the centre of the country, at the location of the former Zuiderzee, the province was established on January 1, 1986; the twelfth province of the country, with Lelystad as its capital...

, and has a total land surface of 970 km², which makes it the largest artificial island in the world.

Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport
is an international airport located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, southwest of Ōsaka Station, located within three municipalities, including Izumisano , Sennan , and Tajiri , in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The airport is off the Honshu shore. The airport serves as an...

 is the first airport to be built completely on an artificial island in 1994, followed by Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Chubu Centrair International Airport
is an airport on an artificial island in Ise Bay, Tokoname City in Aichi Prefecture, south of Nagoya in central Japan.Centrair is classified as a first class airport and is the main international gateway for the Chūbu region of Japan...

 in 2005 and the New Kitakyushu Airport
New Kitakyushu Airport
is an airport in Kokuraminami-ku, Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Japan. It is built on an artificial island in the western Seto Inland Sea, away from the main body of the city. It opened on March 16, 2006 as but was renamed in 2008...

 and Kobe Airport
Kobe Airport
is an airport on an artificial island just off the coast of Kobe, south of Sannomiya Station Japan. It primarily handles domestic flights, but can also accommodate international charter flights. In the first year of operation the airport handled 2,697,000 passengers with an average load factor of...

 in 2006. When Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport , being built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.The airport opened for commercial...

 opened in 1998, 75% of the property was created using Land reclamation
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 upon the existing islands of Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok was an island in the western waters of Hong Kong. Together with the smaller Lam Chau, it was leveled and merged via land reclamation into the platform for the current Hong Kong International Airport, which opened for commercial operations in 1998...

 and Lam Chau
Lam Chau
Lam Chau was one of the two original islands that made up the site of the current Hong Kong International Airport.The small island lay to the west of Chek Lap Kok and north of Lantau Island. It had an area of 0.08 km² and was long. It had a narrow rocky shoreline and small hills covered by...

.

Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 is home to several artificial islands projects, including the three Palm Islands
Palm Islands
The Palm Islands are an artificial archipelago in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on which major commercial and residential infrastructures will be constructed...

 projects, The World
The World (archipelago)
The World or World Islands is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, located off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai's shallow coastal waters, and are one of several...

 and the Dubai Waterfront
Dubai Waterfront
The Dubai Waterfront was expected to become the largest waterfront and largest man-made development in the world. The project is a conglomeration of canals and artificial archipelago; it will occupy the last remaining Persian Gulf coastline of Dubai, the most populous emirate of the United Arab...

. Only the Palm Jumeirah
Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government in United Arab Emirates. It is one of three islands called the Palm Islands which extend into the Persian Gulf, increasing Dubai’s shoreline by a total of...

 is inhabited so far.

Political status


Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea , which took place from 1973 through 1982...

treaty (UNCLOS), artificial islands are not considered harbor works (Article 11) and are under the jurisdiction of the nearest coastal state if within 200 nautical miles (370.4 km) (370 km) (Article 56). Artificial islands are not considered islands for purposes of having their own territorial waters or exclusive economic zones, and only the coastal state may authorize their construction (Article 60); however, on the high seas beyond national jurisdiction, any "state" may construct artificial islands (Article 87).

External links