Antarctic islands are all islands south of the Antarctic Convergence. The Antarctic Treaty prohibits any government from claiming exclusive possession of these islands. 5. Alexander Island Alexander Island is the biggest island in Antarctica. The island is located in the Bellingshausen Sea, west of Palmer Land on the Antarctic Peninsula. Its length is about 70 miles (110 km) and its width varies from 10 to 20 miles (16-32 km). The land area of Alexander Island is 1,579 square miles (4,079 sq km), making it one of the largest islands in Antarctica.
Alexander Island is named after Captain Alexander Armstrong, an officer with the British Royal Navy who was killed during a visit to the site in 1820.
The U.S. Antarctic Service (USAS) conducted scientific studies on this island from 1940 to 1945. In 1946, it returned part of the island to Britain and part to Norway, but the two countries agreed to share sovereignty over the island. In 1959, Russia also claimed part of the island. However, under the Antarctic Treaty, no country can claim territorial rights within Antarctica except by way of discovery. Thus, only those areas that have been formally discovered or claimed can be owned by another country.
In February 2009, scientists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported finding evidence of a large meteorite impact zone near the center of the island.
The island of Alexander Alexander Island is the biggest island in Antarctica. It is also known as Alexander I Island, Alexander I Land, Alexander Land, Alexander I Archipelago, and Zemlja Alexandra I. The island measures 493 km (305 mi) east-west by 252 km (157 mi) north-south.
Alexander Island is part of the South Shetland Islands group. It is 980 km (611 miles) south of Antarctica's southernmost point, Markham Inlet, and 3,680 km (2,400 miles) west of Buenos Aires in Argentina. The island was discovered by Russian explorers in 1820 and named after their emperor, Alexander I.
Alexander Island is one of the world's largest ice shelves. Its size relative to that of Antarctica itself makes it important for understanding how recent climate change has affected its frozen companion. Recent studies have shown that between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago, when Antarctic temperatures were higher than today, there was no ice shelf at all on this site. The open water would have let more sunlight into Antarctica, causing further warming and more ice loss.
Ice shelves act like giant arms holding back large bodies of ice.
Sub-Antarctic islands are those that are located on the Antarctic Plate (including those near another continental mainland) or on another tectonic plate, but are biogeographically linked to the Antarctic and thus part of the Antarctic realm, roughly north of and adjacent to the Antarctic Convergence. Most sub-Antarctic islands are small, rocky, and lie in polar climates. The main exception is South Africa's Prince Edward Islands, which are large (more than 100 km [62 miles] long) and occur in an area where tropical weather conditions are common.
The Sub-Antarctic islands were first discovered by Europeans. Dutch explorers made the first known visit when they mapped some of the regions surrounding the Prince Edward Islands group in 1625. French explorers conducted surveys of southern lands later claimed by France, including the Crozet Islands in 1772. Although not officially recognized by any country, scientists believe the Sub-Antarctic islands to be world heritage sites. They provide important connections between landmasses and habitat for many species of animals and plants unique to Antarctica.
In addition to being biosphere reserves, the Sub-Antarctic islands have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their unique biological diversity. There are nine sites in all, six in Antarctica and three in other parts of the world.
Bouvet Island is the world's most isolated island. Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, is 1,700 kilometers (1,100 miles) to the south, and Gough Island, 1,600 kilometers (990 miles) to the north. The islands are part of Svalbard, a Norwegian territory in the Arctic Ocean.
They were discovered by French explorers in 1645 and named after King Charles IX, who was beheaded that year.
Bouvet Island is one of two French territories in the Antarctic, along with Saint-Paul Island. It is also one of four British Overseas Territories in the Antarctic, along with the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The other three countries that border the Antarctic are Argentina, Chile and New Zealand.
It is separated from South Africa by the Bouvet Channel. This channel was once believed to be connected to the Southern Ocean, but new research has shown that it is instead a closed basin filled with ice. This means that sea water cannot flow into the channel and the only way for water to reach its surface is through underground springs or rainfall.
The island has a land area of 456 square kilometers (175 sq mi), and a population of 48 (2001). There are no cities or towns on Bouvet Island, only small settlements at the foot of the mountains.
The following is a list of Antarctic islands lying north of 60 degrees South. Apart from East Timor, the Oceanic islands between the Equator, 60 degrees South, 20 degrees West, and 115 degrees East are the only Southern Hemisphere lands that are not part of the five southern nuclear-weapon-free zones. On this map, the Antarctic islands Bouvet and Kerguelen are located outside the Antarctic NWFZ. The rest of the islands are within the zone.
The following table lists all the islands that lie north of 60 degrees south and have a land area of more than 1 square kilometer. There are several large islands to the west of South Africa that do not appear on this map. These include Lesotho, Swaziland, and Zambia.
Name: Queen Maud Land (formerly known as King Edward VII Land)
Land Area: n/a
Time Zone: UTC+01:00
Daily Temperature Range: 0 to 40 degrees Celsius
Annual Rainfall: n/a