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used on Lyr
by Chris Wayan, 2006

Lyr (home) - map - creatures - cultures - evolution - climate - geology - gazetteer - nomenclature - definitions - building Lyr - more worlds? Planetocopia!

Several of the above terms describe lands of various sizes. English has only two words for "big land surrounded by water": continent and island. Absurd, really--the same term, for Greenland and Manhattan? Still, Earth does have a natural division between continents and islands--a huge size-gap, with Greenland the only borderline case. But Lyr, rich in small continents or large islands, needs a clear hierarchy of terms for them:
  1. CLUSTER or GROUP = Continents linked by shallows, or one continent with big satellites, or a archipelago whose islands add up to a continent-sized landmass. Lyr has ten such clusters separated by wide, deep seas; the largest four, Ythri, Troisleons, Diomedes and Flandry, each have about 15 million sq km of land (6M sq mi, smaller than South America).
  2. CONTINENT = A single landmass larger than 3 million square kilometers (1.2 million sq mi; less than half an Australia). Even by this modest standard, only four lands on Lyr qualify: Lannach, Corona, Troisleons and Gaiila. Most landmasses are broken into discontinuous... discontinents? Too awkward. Instead I use the word:
  3. TERRA = a land between one and three million square kilometers (400,000-1,200,000 sq mi). On Earth, only Greenland falls in this range between Australia and New Guinea. But Lyr has two dozen terras, and some like Starkad and Scania, are nearly continental.
  4. MAINLAND = an island over 250,000 km (100,000 sq mi) or over 1000 km long--bigger than most European nations or American states, large enough so whole cultures can develop without ever seeing the sea. Earth has only five such islands: New Guinea, Borneo, Madagascar, Baffin Island and Sumatra. Britain and Honshu don't quite make it. On Lyr, 33 islands do! The nearly sixty terras and mainlands together hold most of Lyr's land.
  5. ISLAND = a land over 50,000 sq km (20,000 sq mi)--several hundred km wide. From Britain and Honshu down to Java, Ireland, Sri Lanka.
  6. ISLE = a land over 10,000 sq km (4000 sq mi)--usually 1-200 km across. Taiwan, Sicily, Vancouver Island. Hawaii and Crete are borderline...
  7. ISLET = a land under 100 km long, or a couple of hundred but very narrow--a few thousand sq km. Guadalcanal, Puerto Rico... Long Island.
  8. SKERRY, perhaps? INISH? But why get out the microscope? On a world as big as Lyr, we won't notice mere snippets like Manhattan, let alone Alcatraz or the Ile de France...
Map of Lyr, a world-building experiment. Click a feature to go there.
Gazetteer: index of places, with descriptions. Or...

TOUR LYR! Climb volcanoes, swim seas, meet weird creatures. First: survival tips! Then, pick a region:
Ythri -- Polesotechnic Chain -- Troisleons -- Roland -- Oronesia -- Gaiila -- Flandry -- Diomedes -- Ak'hai'i -- Averorn

Lyr's homepage - map - creatures - evolution - climate zones - geology and geography - gazetteer - nomenclature - definitions

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