Queen Elizabeth Land

Last updated

Queen Elizabeth Land
Antarctica location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Queen Elizabeth Land
Location of Queen Elizabeth Land in Antarctica
Coordinates: 84°S49°W / 84°S 49°W / -84; -49 Coordinates: 84°S49°W / 84°S 49°W / -84; -49
Continent Antarctica
  Total437,000 km2 (169,000 sq mi)

Queen Elizabeth Land is a portion of mainland Antarctica named by the government of the United Kingdom and claimed as part of the British Antarctic Territory, which is the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories. Situated south of Weddell Sea and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, stretching from Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole. [1] The boundary against Zumberge Coast of Ellsworth Land to the West and Northwest is Hercules Inlet. To the northeast, circle of latitude 82°S is the dividing line against Coats Land. The area of Queen Elizabeth Land was unnamed until 2012, though most of it was unofficially known as Edith Ronne Land in 1947–68 [2] and includes areas claimed by the United Kingdom, Chile and Argentina.


Map of Queen Elizabeth Land (shaded) Map of Queen Elizabeth Land, BAT.svg
Map of Queen Elizabeth Land (shaded)


The glacier flowing from the Pensacola Mountains onto the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf Pensacola Glacier.jpg
The glacier flowing from the Pensacola Mountains onto the Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf

On the occasion of a visit by Queen Elizabeth II to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London on 18 December 2012, it was announced there that a 437,000-square-kilometre (169,000 sq mi) area of the British Antarctic Territory had been named Queen Elizabeth Land after The Queen. [3] The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, said that the naming was "a fitting tribute at the end of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee year". [3]

Queen Elizabeth Land is nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom [3] and is essentially a triangular segment of Antarctica, with one vertex at the South Pole. It is bounded on the North side by the Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf, to the North East by Coats Land, on the East by Queen Maud Land and extending on the West side to a line between the South Pole and Rutford Ice Stream, east of Constellation Inlet. [4] [5] [6] The Pensacola Mountains, discovered in January 1956, run for some 450 km (280 mi) along a north-east to south-west line along the centre of the territory. [7] The area's name will be included on all British maps. [8]

Queen Elizabeth Land is the second region of Antarctica to be named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. The first is Princess Elizabeth Land, located across the continent in the Australian Antarctic Territory, which was named in 1931 in honour of then-Princess Elizabeth during the reign of her grandfather George V as the King of Australia.


Argentina, whose Argentine Antarctica claim overlaps with the British Antarctic Territory, criticised the naming calling it a "systematic attack" and described it as "provocation" after recent tensions over Argentina's claim to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory. [9]

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement regarding the naming, where they reminded that Russia was one of the original parties to the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 and calling for the full, unconditional and responsible compliance by all State parties with its provisions (which included the UK). According to the Antarctic Treaty, "no acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial in Antarctica and do not create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica". [10] [11]

See also


  1. Queen Elizabeth Land. SCAR Composite Antarctic Gazetteer.
  2. Ronne Ice Shelf. USGS Geographic Names Information System
  3. 1 2 3 "UK to name part of Antarctica Queen Elizabeth Land". BBC News. BBC. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  4. Queen Elizabeth Land, Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 19 December 2012
  5. Rayner, Gordon (18 December 2012). "Part of Antarctica named 'Queen Elizabeth Land' as gift for Diamond Jubilee". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  6. Calder, Simon (18 December 2012). "So where exactly is Queen Elizabeth Land?". The Independent. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  7. "Pensacola Mountains". Antarctica Detail. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  8. "Foreign Office risks diplomatic row with Argentina by naming part of Antarctica after the Queen". Telegraph. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  9. Hannah Strange (20 December 2012). "Argentina fury as Britain names disputed Antarctic territory 'Queen Elizabeth Land'". The Times. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  10. "Russia issues statement on Queen Elizabeth Land". New Europe Online. 27 December 2012. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  11. "The Antarctic Treaty". National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs. Archived from the original on 19 May 2019.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geography of Antarctica</span> Geographic features of Antarctica

The geography of Antarctica is dominated by its south polar location and, thus, by ice. The Antarctic continent, located in the Earth's southern hemisphere, is centered asymmetrically around the South Pole and largely south of the Antarctic Circle. It is washed by the Southern Ocean or, depending on definition, the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. It has an area of more than 14 million km2. Antarctica is the largest ice desert in the world

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Antarctica</span> Past events regarding the continent of Antarctica

The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe. The term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">British Antarctic Territory</span> British Overseas Territory in United Kingdom

The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories, of which it is by far the largest by area. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapped by the Antarctic claims of Argentina and Chile.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Weddell Sea</span> Part of the Southern Ocean between Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula

The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre. Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula. The easternmost point is Cape Norvegia at Princess Martha Coast, Queen Maud Land. To the east of Cape Norvegia is the King Haakon VII Sea. Much of the southern part of the sea is covered by a permanent, massive ice shelf field, the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Filchner–Ronne Ice Shelf</span> Ice shelf in Antarctica

The Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, also known as Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf, is an Antarctic ice shelf bordering the Weddell Sea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jackie Ronne</span> American explorer (1919–2009)

Jackie Ronne was an American explorer of Antarctica and the first woman in the world to be a working member of an Antarctic expedition (1947–48). She is also the namesake of the Ronne Ice Shelf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alexander Island</span> Island in the Bellingshausen Sea off Antarctica

Alexander Island, which is also known as Alexander I Island, Alexander I Land, Alexander Land, Alexander I Archipelago, and Zemlja Alexandra I, is the largest island of Antarctica. It lies in the Bellingshausen Sea west of Palmer Land, Antarctic Peninsula from which it is separated by Marguerite Bay and George VI Sound. The George VI Ice Shelf entirely fills George VI Sound and connects Alexander Island to Palmer Land. The island partly surrounds Wilkins Sound, which lies to its west. Alexander Island is about 390 kilometres (240 mi) long in a north–south direction, 80 kilometres (50 mi) wide in the north, and 240 kilometres (150 mi) wide in the south. Alexander Island is the second-largest uninhabited island in the world, after Devon Island.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Swabia</span> A territory of Antarctica in Queen Maud Land, first explored by Nazi Germany in 1938/39

New Swabia was a disputed Antarctic claim by Nazi Germany within the Norwegian territorial claim of Queen Maud Land and is now a cartographic name sometimes given to an area of Antarctica between 20°E and 10°W in Queen Maud Land. New Swabia was explored by Germany in early 1939 and named after that expedition's ship, Schwabenland, itself named after the German region of Swabia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Berkner Island</span> Ice rise in the British Antarctic Territory, Antarctica

Berkner Island is an Antarctic ice rise, where bedrock below sea level has caused the surrounding ice sheet to create a dome. If the ice cap were removed, the island would be underwater. Berkner Island is completely ice-covered and is about 320 kilometres (200 mi) long and 150 kilometres (93 mi) wide, with an area of 44,000 km2 (17,000 sq mi). It is surrounded by the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. The northernmost point of the Berkner is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the open sea. It lies in the overlapping portion of the Argentine and the British Antarctic territorial claims.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Support Force Glacier</span> Glacier in Antarctica

Support Force Glacier is a major glacier in the Pensacola Mountains, draining northward between the Forrestal Range and Argentina Range to the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. Mapped by the United States Geological Survey from surveys and US Navy air photos, 1956–66. Named by US-ACAN for the U.S. Naval Support Force Antarctica, which provided logistical support for the United States Antarctic Program during this period.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Argentine Antarctica</span> Department in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Argentine Antarctica is an area of Antarctica claimed by Argentina as part of its national territory. It consists 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. Argentina's Antarctic claim is based on its continued presence in the region since 1904, and the area's proximity to the South American continent. Argentina's claim to this area is subject to the Antarctic Treaty. Administratively, Argentine Antarctica is a department of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands. The provincial authorities are based in Ushuaia. Despite the claim to this Antarctic area, Argentinean authority extends no further than the nation's bases. The Argentine exploration of the continent started early in the 20th century. José María Sobral was the first Argentine to set foot on Antarctica, in 1902, where he spent two seasons with the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Otto Nordenskiöld. Shortly afterward, in 1904, the Orcadas permanent base was already fully operational. Years later, other bases would be created, some permanent and others seasonal. The first Argentine expedition to reach the South Pole was the 1965 Operación 90.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Antarctica</span> Part of Antarctica that lies within the Western Hemisphere

West Antarctica, or Lesser Antarctica, one of the two major regions of Antarctica, is the part of that continent that lies within the Western Hemisphere, and includes the Antarctic Peninsula. It is separated from East Antarctica by the Transantarctic Mountains and is covered by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It lies between the Ross Sea, and the Weddell Sea. It may be considered a giant peninsula, stretching from the South Pole towards the tip of South America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Princess Elizabeth Land</span> Australian antarctic claim

Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of Antarctica between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck. The sector is claimed by Australia as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, although this claim is not widely recognized.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Second German Antarctic Expedition</span> Antarctic research expedition

The Second German Antarctic Expedition of 1911–1913 was led by Wilhelm Filchner in the exploration ship Deutschland. Its principal objective was to determine whether the Antarctic continent comprised a single landmass rather than separated elements, and in particular whether the Weddell Sea and Ross Sea were connected by a strait. In addition, an extensive programme of scientific research was undertaken. The expedition failed to establish a land base, and the ship became beset in the Weddell Sea ice, drifting north for eight months before reaching open water. The expedition was marred by considerable disagreement and animosity among its participants, and broke up in disarray.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Territorial claims in Antarctica</span> Land claims of the continent

Seven sovereign states–Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom–have made territorial claims in Antarctica. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as India, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antarctica</span> Continent

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost and least-populated continent. Situated almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle and surrounded by the Southern Ocean, it contains the geographic South Pole. Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent, being about 40% larger than Europe, and has an area of 14,200,000 km2 (5,500,000 sq mi). Most of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, with an average thickness of 1.9 km (1.2 mi).

Edith Ronne Land was the unofficial name of Antarctica bounded by Palmer Land and Ellsworth Land to the west, Coats Land to the east, and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf to the north. In December 2012, this region was officially named Queen Elizabeth Land by the British Government who considers it part of the British Antarctic Territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Queen Maud Land</span> Norways territorial claim in Antarctica

Queen Maud Land is a roughly 2.7-million-square-kilometre (1.0-million-square-mile) region of Antarctica claimed by Norway as a dependent territory. It borders the claimed British Antarctic Territory 20° west and the Australian Antarctic Territory 45° east. In addition, a small unclaimed area from 1939 was annexed in June 2015. Positioned in East Antarctica, it makes out about one-fifth of the continent, and is named after the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales (1869–1938).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ellsworth Station</span> Antarctic base

Ellsworth Scientific Station was a permanent, all year-round originally American, then Argentine Antarctic scientific research station named after American polar explorer Lincoln Ellsworth. It was located on Gould Bay, on the Filchner Ice Shelf.