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Part of a continent broken from its main mass
Continental crustal fragments, partially synonymous with microcontinents, are pieces of continents that have broken off from main continental masses to form distinct islands and often several hundred kilometers from their place of origin. Continental fragments include some seamounts and underwater plateaus.
Some microcontinents are fragments of Gondwana or other ancientcratonic continents; some examples include Madagascar; the northern Mascarene Plateau, which includes the Seychelles microcontinent; and the island of Timor. Other islands, such as several in the Caribbean Sea, are composed largely of granitic rock as well, but all continents contain both granitic and basaltic crust, and there is no clear dividing line between islands and microcontinents under such a definition. The Kerguelen Plateau is a large igneous province formed by a volcanic hotspot; however, it was associated with the breakup of Gondwana and was for a time above water, so it is considered a microcontinent, though not a continental fragment. Other hotspot islands such as Iceland and Hawaii are considered neither microcontinents nor continental fragments. Not all islands can be considered microcontinents: the British Isles, Sri Lanka, Borneo, and Newfoundland, for example, are each within the continental shelf of an adjacent continent, separated from the mainland by inland seas flooding its margins.
^"Microcontinent" was initially the broader term, because it was defined morphologically rather than genetically (in term or genesis or origin). Scrutton, Roger A. (1976) "Microcontinents and Their Significance" pp. 177-189 In Drake, Charles L. (1976) (editor) Geodynamics: Progress and Prospects American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., ISBN978-0-87590-203-6. But, using Scrutton's definition, "microcontinent" is a narrower term, excluding aseismic ridges of continental material, such as the Lomonosov Ridge and the Jan Mayen Ridge, which could still be considered "continental fragments".
^Monk, K.A.; Fretes, Y.; Reksodiharjo-Lilley, G. (1996). The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions Ltd. pp. 41-43. ISBN978-962-593-076-3.
^Monk, K.A.; Fretes, Y.; Reksodiharjo-Lilley, G. (1996). The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions Ltd. pp. 27-29. ISBN978-962-593-076-3.