Map of King George Island, Antarctica
|Archipelago||South Shetland Islands|
|Area||1,150 km2 (440 sq mi)|
|Length||95 km (59 mi)|
|Width||25 km (15.5 mi)|
|Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System|
|Population||around 500[ citation needed ]|
King George Island (Argentina: Isla 25 de Mayo, Chile: Isla Rey Jorge, Russian: Ватерло́о Vaterloo) is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, lying 120 km (75 miles) off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. The island was named after King George III.
King George island has three major bays, Maxwell Bay, Admiralty Bay, and King George Bay. Admiralty Bay contains three fjords, and is protected as an Antarctic Specially Managed Area under the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
The island was first claimed for Britain on 16 October 1819, formally annexed [ clarification needed ] by Britain as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies in 1908, and now as part of the separate British Antarctic Territory. The Island was claimed by Chile in 1940, as part of the Chilean Antarctic Territory. It was also claimed by Argentina in 1943, now as part of Argentine Antarctica, called by the Argentines Isla Veinticinco de Mayo (25 May) in honour of their National day. The US and Russia do not recognize these claims and have formally reserved their right to claim Antarctic territories.
The island was discovered and named by the British explorer William Smith in 1819, who named it after the then King, George III. 95 km (59 mi) long and 25 km (16 mi) wide with a land area of 1,150 square kilometres (444 sq mi). Over 90% of the island's surface is permanently glaciated. In 1821, 11 men of the sealing vessel Lord Melville survived the winter on the island, the first men to do so in Antarctica.It is approximately
The coastal areas of the island are home to a comparatively diverse selection of vegetation and animal life, including elephant, Weddell, and leopard seals, and Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Several other seabirds, including skuas and southern giant petrel, nest on this island during the summer months.
Human habitation of King George Island is limited to research stations belonging to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, Peru, Poland, Russia, Uruguay, and the United States. Most of these stations are permanently staffed, carrying out research into areas as diverse as biology, ecology, geology, and palaeontology. Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, the Chilean Station on the Fildes Peninsula, is operated as a permanent village with an airstrip (with large hangar and control tower along with other buildings), cafeterias for personnel of its several agencies there, a bank, a post office and comfortable ranch-style family homes with children. Chile (like Argentina and Great Britain) regards all of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands as part of that country's territory; however, the terms of the Antarctic Treaty allow Chile to colonize the Fildes Peninsula without overtly pursuing its territorial claims.The Chinese Great Wall base features an indoor multipurpose room which serves as a full-size basketball court.
In 2004, a Russian Orthodox church, Trinity Church, was opened on the island near Russia's Bellingshausen Station. The church, one of the southernmost in the world and one of the few permanent structures in Antarctica, is permanently manned by a priest.
In October 2013, American heavy metal band Metallica announced that it would perform a concert sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company at Carlini Station heliport.The concert took place on 8 December 2013.
The first attempted murder in Antarctica occurred on the island in 2018 at Russia's Bellingshausen Station.
A small amount of specialised tourist activity also takes place during summer, including an annual marathon, known as the Antarctic marathon.
The Fildes Peninsula 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long, forms the SW extremity of the island. It was named from association with nearby Fildes Strait by the UK-APC in 1960.
Point Thomas lighthouse at Arctowski Station is the most southerly lighthouse of the world.
NOAA runs Lenie Base, a seasonal research station for penguin studies on Admiralty Bay. This small station, dubbed Copacabana, operates in the Antarctic summer only, but is used as a survival hut in the winter.
The Antarctic Peninsula and its nearby islands are considered to have the mildest living conditions in Antarctica. The island's climate is strongly influenced by the surrounding ocean. −6.5 °C (20.3 °F) and 1.5 °C (34.7 °F) in the warmest month. With only 591.3 hours of sunshine per year, the weather is often unsettled and cloudy throughout the year with precipitation in the form of snow, rain and drizzle occurring often. On average, 729 mm of precipitation falls per year.Under the Köppen system, it is one of the few locations in Antarctica classified as a tundra climate rather than an ice cap climate. Variation in temperatures are small with the coldest month, July averaging
|Climate data for Bellingshausen Station (Collins Harbour,King George Island) (1968–2014)|
|Average high °C (°F)||3.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||54.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||87.8||88.8||88.3||88.0||88.2||87.6||88.5||88.6||89.6||88.8||88.4||88.3||88.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||89.3||66.2||54.4||28.4||13.9||3.8||9.0||28.5||48.1||70.9||83.2||95.5||591.2|
|Source: Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute|
|Record high °C (°F)||13.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||−5.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||53.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||91||89||89||89||88||90||89||88||89||90||89||81||89|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||83.8||71.2||57.3||23.6||8.3||1.2||3.9||15.8||44.2||93.2||104.5||98.1||605.1|
|Source: Dirección Meteorológica de Chile (temperature data:1970-2004, all other 1990-2000)|
The Antarctic Peninsula, known as O'Higgins Land in Chile and Tierra de San Martin in Argentina, and originally as the Palmer Peninsula in the US and Graham Land in the United Kingdom, is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica.
Edward Bransfield was an Irish sailor who became an officer in the British Royal Navy, serving as a master on several ships, after being impressed into service in Ireland at the age of 18. He is noted for his participation in several explorations of parts of Antarctica, including a sighting of the Trinity Peninsula in January 1820.
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands with a total area of 3,687 square kilometres (1,424 sq mi). They lie about 120 kilometres (75 mi) north of the Antarctic Peninsula, and between 430 kilometres (270 mi) to 900 kilometres (560 mi) south-west from the nearest point of the South Orkney Islands. By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the islands' sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories and they are free for use by any signatory for non-military purposes.
Livingston Island is an Antarctic island in the Southern Ocean, part of the South Shetlands Archipelago. It was the first land discovered south of 60° south latitude in 1819, a historic event that marked the end of a centuries-long pursuit of the mythical Terra Australis Incognita and the beginning of the exploration and utilization of real Antarctica. The name Livingston, although of unknown derivation, has been well established in international usage since the early 1820s.
Antártica Chilena Province is the southernmost and one of four provinces in Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena Region (XII). The capital is Puerto Williams. The province comprises the extreme southern part of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the islands south and west of Isla Grande, and Chile's claims in Antarctica. The province is administratively divided into two communes (comunas): Cabo de Hornos, located at the southern tip of South America, and Antártica, a wedge-shaped claim of Antarctica, which is not internationally recognized. Its total area of 1,265,853.7 km2 (488,749 sq mi) makes it almost twice as large as all other provinces of Chile combined.
The Fildes Peninsula is a 7 km (4.3 mi) long peninsula that forms the south-western end of King George Island in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It was named from association with nearby Fildes Strait by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1960; the strait was likely named for Robert Fildes, a British sealer of the 1800s.
Argentine Antarctica is a sector of Antarctica claimed by Argentina as part of its national territory consisting of the Antarctic Peninsula and a triangular section extending to the South Pole, delimited by the 25° West and 74° West meridians and the 60° South parallel. This region overlaps the British and Chilean claims in Antarctica; however, all claims are suspended by the Antarctic Treaty System, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires.
Robert Island or Mitchells Island or Polotsk Island or Roberts Island is an island 11 miles (18 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide, situated between Nelson Island and Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Robert Island is located at. Surface area 132 km2 (51 sq mi). The name "Robert Island" dates back to around 1821 and is now established in international usage.
Brazilian Antarctica is the name of the Antarctic territory south of 60°S, and from 28°W to 53°W, proposed as "Zone of Interest" by geopolitical scholar Therezinha de Castro. While the substance of that designation has never been precisely defined, it does not formally contradict the Argentine and British claims geographically overlapping with that zone. The country formally expressed its reservations with respect to its territorial rights in Antarctica when it acceded to the Antarctic Treaty on 16 May 1975, making the first official mention of the Frontage Theory, which states (simplified) that sovereignty over each point in Antarctica properly belongs to the first country whose non-Antarctic territory one would reach when travelling north in a straight line from such a point. The Frontage Theory was proposed by Brazilian geopolitical scholar Therezinha de Castro and published in her book Antártica: Teoria da Defrontação.
Bellingshausen Station is a Russian Antarctic station at Collins Harbour, on King George Island of the South Shetland Islands. It was one of the first research stations founded by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1968. It is also the location of Trinity Church, the only permanently staffed Eastern Orthodox church in Antarctica.
Villa Las Estrellas is a Chilean town and research station on King George Island within the Chilean Antarctic claim, the Chilean Antarctic Territory, and also within the Argentine and British Antarctic claims.
Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva is the most important Antarctic base of Chile. It is located at Fildes Peninsula, an ice-free area, in front of Fildes Bay, west of King George Island, South Shetland Islands. Situated alongside the Escudero Station and only 200 metres from the Russian Bellingshausen Station, its geographic coordinates are, at an altitude of 10 metres above sea-level. The base is located in the Chilean commune of Antártica, which is the Antarctic territory claimed by Chile.
The Chilean Antarctic Territory or Chilean Antarctica is the territory in Antarctica claimed by Chile. The Chilean Antarctic Territory ranges from 53° West to 90° West and from the South Pole to the 60° South parallel, partially overlapping the Argentine and British Antarctic claims. It is administered by the Cabo de Hornos municipality in the South American mainland.
The General Artigas Station, also referred to as the Artigas Base is the larger of the two Uruguayan scientific research stations in Antarctica, the other one being Elichiribehety Base. It is one of the 68 bases in Antarctica.
Captain Arturo Prat Base is a Chilean Antarctic research station located at Iquique Cove, Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.
Professor Julio Escudero Base is a permanent Chilean Antarctic research base. It is located on King George Island near Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva and the civilian settlement of Villa Las Estrellas. It lies within the Antártica Chilean commune funded by the Antarctic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.
Cape Shirreff is a prominent cape at the north end of the rocky peninsula which separates Hero Bay and Barclay Bay on the north coast of Livingston Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. The cape was named by Edward Bransfield in 1820 after Captain William H. Shirreff, the British commanding officer in the Pacific at that time.
Eddystone Rocks is a group of two rocks lying to the northwest of Rugged Island off western Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.
Maxwell Bay, also called Fildes Bay and Guardia Nacional Bay is a bay 19 km (12 mi) long, lying between King George Island and Nelson Island, in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. The main entrance to the bay is at the south-east side and is wide open; Fildes Strait on the north-west side is encumbered by rocks and is only navigable by boats. The name "Maxwells Straits" was given to this bay and to Fildes Strait by British sealing captain James Weddell in 1822–24, for Lieutenant Francis Maxwell who had served with Weddell in 1813–14. The name was altered and limited to the feature here described by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1960.
The Monument to the Antarctic Treaty commemorates the signatories of the Antarctic Treaty, which was opened for signing in 1959 and came into force in 1961.
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