South Georgia Island

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South Georgia
Thatcher-Peninsula.jpg
Central South Georgia
SG-Settlements.png
Map of South Georgia Island
Geography
Location South Atlantic
Coordinates 54°24′S 36°42′W / 54.4°S 36.7°W / -54.4; -36.7
Archipelago South Georgia group
Length 167.4 km (104.02 mi)
Width 37 km (23 mi)
Highest elevation 2,934 m (9,626 ft)
Highest point Mount Paget
Largest settlement Grytviken
Demographics
Population 20

South Georgia is an island in the southern Atlantic Ocean that is part of the British Overseas territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The main settlement is Grytviken. South Georgia is 167.4 kilometres (104 mi) long and 1.4 to 37 km (0.9 to 23.0 miles) wide.[1] It is about 830 km (520 mi) north-east of Coronation Island and 550 km (340 mi) north-west from Zavodovski Island, the nearest South Sandwich island.

History

The Island of South Georgia is said to have been first sighted in 1675 by Anthony de la Roché, a London merchant, and was named Roche Island on a number of early maps. It was sighted by a commercial Spanish ship named León operating out of Saint-Malo on 28 June or 29 June 1756.[2]

Argentine occupation

On 19 March 1982, a group of Argentinians arrived at Leith Harbour and raised the Argentine flag on the island. On 3 April, the second day of the Falklands War, Argentine naval forces formally annexed the island. South Georgia was retaken by British forces on 25 April during Operation Paraquet.

Geography and fauna

Topography of South Georgia Island
Church at Grytviken

The island is classified as an ET or polar tundra climate on the Köppen-Geiger classification system. It has no tree cover, and there is generally snow on the island during the winter months (April-November). The terrain is mountainous, with a central ridge and many fjords and bays along the coast. Additionally, South Georgia is a breeding ground for elephant seals[3], fur seals[4][5], and king penguins. The island is home to the South Georgia Pintail and the South Georgia Pipit, the only known habitat for these birds.[6]

The island's topography include a stepped sequence of flat surfaces interpreted as wave-cut platforms formed when sea level was higher relative to the island. At sea level strandflats have been described.[7]

In 2018, the island was declared free of invasive rodents after a multi-year extermination effort.[8][9]

References

  1. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  2. ^ "Historia General de las Relaciones Exteriores de la República Argentina: Georgias del Sur" [General History of Foreign Relations of the Argentine Republic: South Georgia Islands]. www.argentina-rree.com (in Spanish). Instituto Iberoamérica y el Mundo. Retrieved 2017-07-18. 
  3. ^ Boyd, I. L., Walker, T. R., & Poncet, J. (1996). Status of southern elephant seals at South Georgia. Antarctic Science, 8(3), 237-244. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954102096000338
  4. ^ Boyd, I. L., McCafferty, D. J., & Walker, T. R. (1997). Variation in foraging effort by lactating Antarctic fur seals: response to simulated increased foraging costs. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 40(3), 135-144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002650050326
  5. ^ Boyd, I. L., McCafferty, D. J., Reid, K., Taylor, R., & Walker, T. R. (1998). Dispersal of male and female Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 55(4), 845-852. https://doi.org/10.1139/f97-314
  6. ^ Amos, Jonathan (2018-05-09). "Rodents driven from South Georgia". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  7. ^ Chalmers, M.; Clapperton, M.A. (1970). Geomorhpology of the Strombness Bay — Cumberland Bay area, South Georgia (PDF) (Report). British Antarctic Survey Scientific Reports. 70. pp. 1–25. Retrieved January 29, 2018. 
  8. ^ Warren, Matt (2018-05-08). "Rat begone: Record eradication effort rids sub-Antarctic island of invasive rodents". Science. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  9. ^ https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-to-exterminate-rats-on-an-island
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