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Summary of the Peri-Antarctic Islands

Compiled by R.K. Headland

These are the 19 islands and archipelagos around Antarctica. The peri-Antarctic islands include the sub-Antarctic ones and several others with associated features. The positions given are approximately the middle point for smaller islands and their limits for larger ones and groups. The other figures are from the best sources available: not all are equally reliable.

Names are given in the forms recommended by the Union Géographique International. Sightings, landings, and winterings are, in all cases, the first recorded, there may have been previous ones for some islands. The italic number after the coordinates is the Universal Decimal Classification (for use in Polar Libraries) reference.

In easterly order, from the prime meridian, the islands are:

Bouvetøya 54·42°S : 03·37°E (*782)
One isolated volcanic island and offlier; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 54 km2. Highest elevation: 780 m (Olavtoppen). 93% glacierized.
Sighted 1739, first landing (by sealers) 1822. Uninhabited, no wintering population recorded.
Norwegian dependency (biland).
Prince Edward Islands; 46·60° to 46·97°S : 37·58° to 38·02°E (*783)
Two islands (Prince Edward Island and Marion Island), 22 km apart, of volcanic origin, with offliers; in the Indian Ocean.
Area: 317 km2. Highest elevation: 1230 m (State President Swart Peak, Marion Island). One small ice-cap (1% glacierized).
Sighted 1663, first landing 1799 (by sealers). Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1947 (previously sealers wintered).
South African territory, part of the Province of Cape of Good Hope.
Iles Crozet; 45·95° to 46·50°S : 50·33° to 52·58°E (*784.1)
Two island groups (Occidental; Ile aux Cochons with Ilots des Apôtres and Ile des Pingouins. Oriental; Ile de la Possession and Ile de l'Est), about 100 km apart, of volcanic origin; in the Indian Ocean.
Area: 325 km2. Highest elevation: 1090 m (Pic Marion-Dufresne, Ile de l'Est). Unglacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1772, sealers arrived 1804. Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1963 (previously sealers wintered).
French territory, part of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françises.
Iles Kerguelen; 48·58° to 49·73°S : 68·72° to 70·58°E (*784.2)
One major island (Grande Terre), several minor ones, about 300 islets and rocks, and outliers; partly volcanic; in the Indian Ocean.
Area: 7215 km2. Highest elevation: 1850 m (Grand Ross). 10% glacierized.
Possibly sighted 1410; first definite sighting and landing 1772, sealers arrived 1791. Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1951 (previously sealers, pastoralists, and scientific personnel wintered). A whaling and sealing station operated 1908-14, 1920-29, and 1951-56.
French territory, part of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises.
Heard Island; 52·97° to 53·20°S : 73·25° to 73·83°E (*785)
One main volcanic island with offliers; Shag Island lies 11 km N and McDonald Islands 38 km W; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 390 km2. Highest elevation: 2745 m (Mawson Peak). 80% glacierized.
Possibly sighted 1833 and 1848, definitely sighted 1853, first landing 1855 (by sealers). Uninhabited (previously sealers and scientific personnel wintered) Australian External Territory, Heard and McDonald Islands.
Ile Amsterdam; 37·83°S : 77·52°E (*784.9)
One small volcanic island, about 90 km N of Ile Saint-Paul; in the Indian Ocean.
Area: 85 km2. Highest elevation: 881 m (Mont de la Dives). Unglacierized.
Sighted 1522, first landing 1696, sealers arrived 1789. Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1949 (previously sealers wintered).
French territory, part of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises.
Ile Saint-Paul; 38·72°S : 77·53°E (*784.8)
One small volcanic island and offlier, about 90 km S of Ile Amsterdam; in the Indian Ocean.
Area: 7 km2. Highest elevation: 268 m (Crête de la Novara). Unglacierized.
Sighted 1618, first landing 1696, sealers arrived 1789. Uninhabited (previously sealers and scientific personnel have wintered). Fishing stations operated variously between 1819 and 1931.
French territory, part of Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises.
Macquarie Island; 54·62°S : 158·97°E (*786)
One main island; outliers Judge and Clerk Islands 16 km N, and Bishop and Clerk Islands 29 km S; of sedimentary origin with volcanic extrusions; in the Pacific Ocean.
Area: 128 km2. Highest elevation: 433 m (Mount Hamilton). Unglacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1810 (by sealers). Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1948 (previously sealers and scientific personnel wintered). Sealing and penguin oil station operated 1888-1917.
Australian State territory, a Dependency of Tasmania.
Balleny Islands; 66·25° to 67·58°S : 162·50° to 165·00°E (*768)
190 km chain of three main volcanic islands (Young, Buckle, and Sturge Islands), with offliers; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 400 km2. Highest elevation: 1524 m (Brown Peak, Sturge Island). 95% glacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1839. Never inhabited.
New Zealand territory, part of the Ross Dependency (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).
Auckland Islands; 50·48° to 50·93°S : 165·87° to 166·33°E (*787.7)
One main island with several smaller ones and offliers, of ancient volcanic origin; in the Pacific Ocean.
Area: 626 km2. Highest elevation: 705 m (Mount Dick, Adams Island). Unglacierized.
Sighted 1806, first landing 1807 (by sealers). Uninhabited (Maori and Moriori, colonial settlers, pastoralists, sealers, and scientific personnel have wintered).
New Zealand territory, part of the Province of Southland.
Campbell Island; 52·55°S : 169·15°E (*787.8)
One main island with offliers, of ancient volcanic origin; in the Pacific Ocean.
Area: 113 km2. Highest elevation: 569 m (Mount Honey). Unglacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1810 (by sealers). Uninhabited (scientific station operated from 1941 to 1995, (previously whalers, sealers, pastoralists, and scientific personnel wintered). Minor whaling stations operated 1909-14.
New Zealand territory, part of the Province of Southland.
Scott Island; 67·40°S : 179·92°E (*769)
One small island and an isolated stack, of volcanic origin; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 0·4 km2. Highest elevation: 63 m (Haggits Pillar). Largely glacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1902. Uninhabitable.
New Zealand territory, part of the Ross Dependency (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).
Peter I Øy 68·85°S : 90·62°W (*779)
One isolated island, of volcanic origin; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 157 km2. Highest elevation: 1640 m (Lars Christensentoppen). 95% glacierized.
Sighted 1821, first landing 1929. Never inhabited.
Norwegian dependency (biland) (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).
South Shetland Islands; 61·00° to 63·37°S : 53·83° to 62·83°W (*726.1)
540 km chain of four main groups, including eleven major islands (Elephant and Clarence Islands; King George and Nelson Islands; Robert, Greenwich, Livingston, Snow, and Deception Islands; Smith and Low Islands), several minor ones, with many islets and rocks; some volcanic; average about 120 km north of the Antarctic Peninsula; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 3687 km2. Highest elevation: 2105 m (Mount Foster, Smith Island). About 80% glacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1819, sealers arrived 1820. Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1943 (previously sealers and a scientific expedition wintered unintentionally, and a garrison was deployed briefly.) Whaling station operated at Deception Island 1912-31.
British territory, part of British Antarctic Territory; also claimed by Argentina, part of 'Antartida Argentina'; and Chile, part of 'Territorio Chileno Antartico' (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).
South Orkney Islands; 60·50° to 60·83°S : 44·25° to 46·25°W (*725)
Four major islands (Coronation, Signy, Powell, and Laurie Islands), several minor ones, with offlying islets and rocks; Inaccessible Islands 30 km W; of sedimentary origin; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 622 km2. Highest elevation: 1265 m (Mount Nivea, Coronation Island). 85% glacierized.
Sighted and first landing 1821 (by sealers). Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1903. Whaling station operated at Signy Island 1920-26.
British territory, part of British Antarctic Territory; also claimed by Argentina, part of 'Antartida Argentina' (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).
Shag Rocks; 55·55°S : 42·03°W (*723.5)
Six isolated rocks, and outlying Black Rock; about 250 km W of South Georgia; of sedimentary origin; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 0·2 km2. Highest elevation: 71 m. Unglacierized.
Probably sighted 1762 and 1794, confirmed 1819, first landing 1956. Uninhabitable.
British territory, part of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; also claimed by Argentina, part of the 'Islas del Atlantico Sur'.
South Georgia; 53·50° to 55·00°S : 35·50° to 38·67°W (*723)
One main island, several small ones, many islets and rocks; outlying Clerke Rocks 74 km SE; mainly of sedimentary origin; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 3755 km2. Highest elevation: 2934 m (Mount Paget). 57% glacierized.
Sighted 1675, first landing 1775, sealers arrived 1786. Permanent occupation (whaling and scientific stations, and a garrison) from 1904 (previously sealers and scientific personnel wintered). Whaling and sealing stations operated 1904-65.
British territory, part of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; also claimed by Argentina, part of the 'Islas del Atlantico Sur'.
South Sandwich Islands; 56·30° to 59·47°S : 26·23° to 28·18°W (*724)
390 km chain of eleven small volcanic islands; in the Southern Ocean.
Area: 310 km2. Highest elevation: 1375 m (Mount Belinda, Montagu Island). 80% glacierized.
Sighted 1775, first landing 1818 (by sealers). Uninhabited, scientific personnel have wintered.
British territory, part of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands; also claimed by Argentina, part of the 'Islas del Atlantico Sur'.
Gough Island; 40·32°S : 09·95°W (*781.5)
One island and several rocks, of ancient volcanic origin; in the Atlantic Ocean.
Area: 65 km2. Highest elevation: 910 m (Edinburgh Peak). Unglacierized.
Probably sighted 1505, first landing 1675, sealers arrived 1804. Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1955 (previously sealers wintered).
British territory, part of the Dependencies of Saint Helena.
Antarctica (*7)
For comparison with the details of the peri-Antarctic islands, the continent of Antarctica with ice shelves, offlying and outlying islands has an area of almost 14 x 106 km2, the highest elevation is 4897 m (Vinson Massif), it is 99·6% glacierized, was sighted in 1819 and the first landing was probably in 1821 by sealers. The first men to winter on the continent did so in 1899 (although at least three other parties had previously wintered at comparable latitudes: two on the South Shetland Islands and one aboard a vessel south of Peter I Øy). Scientific stations have been open continuously since 1943.
Non-existent islands (*789)
Reports of a curious assortment of 15 non-existent, far southern islands have been published and appeared on charts. These are, alphabetically, Aurora Islands, Burdwood's Island, The Chimneys, Dougherty's Island, Elizabethides, Emerald Island, Isla Grande, Macey's Island, New South Greenland, Nimrod Island, Pagoda Rock, Royal Company Island, Swain's Island, Thompson Island, and Trulsklippen.

Compiled by R.K. Headland, 1 August 1996