South Shetland Islands

From Academic Kids

The South Shetland Islands are a chain of islands in the Southern Ocean about 120 kilometres off the coast of Antarctica. They fall within the region 61 00' - 63 37' South, 53 83' - 62 83' West.

The South Shetlands consist of 11 major islands and several minor ones, totalling 3687 square kilometres of land area. Between 80 and 90 percent of the land area is permenantly glaciated. The highest point on the island chain is Mount Foster on Smith Island at 2105 metres above sea level.

The islands were discovered by the British explorer William Smith on 19 February, 1819 and claimed in the name of King George III. The first landing on the islands was made on the largest of the South Shetlands, King George Island by the same man on 16 October that year. The islands are also claimed by Argentina and Chile.

Sealing and whaling took place on the islands in the 19th and early 20th century, but the islands have only been occupied since the establishment of a scientific research station in 1944. A small amount of specialised tourism also takes place during summer.

From north to south the named islands of the South Shetlands are:

A map of the South Shetland Islands
Enlarge
A map of the South Shetland Islands

Some sources also list the Aitcho Islands as members of this group.

See also

es:Islas Shetland del Sur it:Isole Shetland Meridionali nl:Zuidelijke Shetlandeilanden ja:サウス・シェトランド諸島 pl:Szetlandy Połudnoiwe

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