South Orkney Islands
The South Orkney Islands are a group of islands in the Southern Ocean, about 604 kilometres north-east of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. They have an area of about 620 square kilometres. The islands are claimed both by Britain, and by Argentina as part of Argentine Antarctica, under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, sovereignty claims are held in abeyance. Britain and Argentina both maintain bases on the islands, the Argentinian base, established 1904, is sited on Laurie Island. The 11 buildings of the Argentinian station house up to 45 people during the summer, the British Antarctic Survey base, Signy Research Station, is located on Signy Island and was established in 1947. Initially operated year-round, since 1995/6 the Signy Research Station has been only from November to April each year. Apart from personnel at the bases, there are no permanent inhabitants on the islands, the South Orkney Islands were discovered in 1821 by two sealers, the American Nathaniel Brown Palmer and the British George Powell.
The Islands were originally named Powells Group, with the island named Coronation Island as it was the year of the coronation of King George IV. In 1823, James Weddell visited the Islands, gave the archipelago its present name, the South Orkney Islands are located at roughly the same latitude south as the Orkney Islands are north, although it is not known if this was a factor behind the naming of the islands. Bruce surveyed the islands, reverted some of Weddells name changes, and established a meteorological station and this base, renamed Orcadas in 1951, is still in operation today and is thus the oldest research station continuously staffed in the Antarctic. The Islands were subsequently administered as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, in 1962, the islands became part of the newly established British Antarctic Territory. The Argentinian claim to the dates from 1925. It was originally justified by the Argentinian occupation of the Laurie Island base, the islands are situated at latitudes about 60°30 to 60°83 S and longitudes 44°25 to 46°25 W in the Southern Ocean.
As a group of islands, the South Orkney Islands are at approximately 60°35′S 045°30′W, the archipelago comprises four main islands. Coronation Island is the largest, measuring about 30 miles long, Laurie Island is the easternmost of the islands. The other main islands are Powell and Signy, smaller islands in the group include Robertson Islands, the Saddle Islands, and Acuña Island. The total area of the archipelago is about 240 square miles, the Inaccessible Islands about 15 nmi to the west are considered part of the South Orkneys. The climate of the South Orkneys is generally cold, summers are short and cold when the average temperatures reach about 3.5 °C and fall to about −12.8 °C in July
Exclusive economic zone
It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. In colloquial usage, the term may include the continental shelf, the term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nmi limit. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters, generally, a states exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, extending seaward to a distance of no more than 200 nautical miles out from its coastal baseline. The exception to this occurs when exclusive economic zones would overlap. When an overlap occurs, it is up to the states to delineate the actual maritime boundary, any point within an overlapping area defaults to the nearest state. A states exclusive economic zone starts at the edge of its territorial sea. The exclusive economic zone stretches much further into sea than the territorial waters, the exclusive economic zones includes the contiguous zone. The idea of allotting nations EEZs to give more control of maritime affairs outside territorial limits gained acceptance in the late 20th century.
Initially, a countrys sovereign territorial waters extended 3 nautical miles or 6 km beyond the shore, in modern times, a countrys sovereign territorial waters extend to 12 nautical miles beyond the shore. One of the first assertions of exclusive jurisdiction beyond the territorial seas was made by the United States in the Truman Proclamation of September 28,1945. The exact extent of economic zones is a common source of conflicts between states over marine waters. One well-known example of such dispute was the Cod Wars between the United Kingdom and Iceland and Russia dispute both territorial sea and EEZ with regard to the Svalbard archipelago as it affects Russias EEZ due to its unique treaty status. A treaty was agreed in principle in April 2010 between the two states and subsequently ratified, resolving this demarcation dispute, the agreement was signed in Murmansk on September 15,2010. The South China Sea is the site of a dispute between several neighboring nations. Croatias ZERP in the Adriatic Sea caused friction with Italy and Slovenia, a wedge-shaped section of the Beaufort Sea is disputed between Canada and the United States, as the area reportedly contains substantial oil reserves.
France claims a portion of Canadas EEZ for Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon based on a new definition of the continental shelf, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon is entirely surrounded by Canadas EEZ. Mauritius claims EEZ for Tromelin from France and EEZ for British Indian Ocean Territory from the UK, Northern Cyprus claims a portion of Cyprus EEZ overlaps with that of Northern Cyprus in the south/southeastern part of the Cyprus island. Turkey claims a portion of Cypruss EEZ overlaps with its own EEZ, Lebanon claims that the agreement between Cyprus and Israel overlapped its own EEZ
The Kerguelen Plateau is an oceanic plateau and a large igneous province in the southern Indian Ocean. It is a microcontinent and submerged continent and it is about 3,000 km to the southwest of Australia and is nearly three times the size of Japan. The plateau extends for more than 2,200 km in a northwest–southeast direction, the plateau was produced by the Kerguelen hotspot, starting with or following the breakup of Gondwana about 130 million years ago. A small portion of the plateau breaks sea level, forming the Kerguelen Islands plus the Heard, intermittent volcanism continues on the Heard and McDonald Islands. To the north of Broken Ridge lies the linear Ninety East Ridge which continues almost due north into the Bay of Bengal and is considered to be a hotspot track. One of the largest LIPs in the world, the Kerguelen Plateau covers an area of 1,250,000 km2, located on the Antarctic Plate, the Kerguelen Plateau is separated from Australia by the Southeast Indian Ridge and from Africa by the Southwest Indian Ridge.
These two ridge meet at the Rodriguez Triple Junction and it is separated from Antarctica by Princess Elizabeth Trough and the Cooperation Sea. The eastern margin north of the William Ridge is steep and formed during the breakup between the Kerguelen Plateau and the Broken Ridge, the southern part of the margin is separated from the Australian–Antarctic Basin by the deep Labuan Basin. From the initial opening of the Indian Ocean until present, the Kerguelen hotspot has produced several now widely dispersed large scale structures, the oldest volcanism that can be attributed to the Kerguelen plume are the Bunbury Basalt in southwestern Australia and the Rajmahal Traps in eastern India. The formation of the oldest portion of the Kerguelen LIP and these continental basalts are linked to the opening of the eastern Indian Ocean. The Bunbury Basalt is not of flood basalt dimension which suggest that the underlying the newly formed Kerguelen hotspot was neither significantly hot, wet. In contrast, the magmatism that produced the Australia–India breakup 136–158 Ma created the Wallaby Plateau, the output from the Kerguelen hotspot peaked 120–95 Ma, 12–70 Ma after the India–Antarctica breakup.
The peak output of the Kerguelen hotspot coincides with one or several microcontinent formations, parts of the Kerguelen Plateau, the Elan Bank and the SKP, were originally attached to India and are composed of continental lithosphere. One or several ridge jumps transformed the Elan Bank into a microcontinent and dispersed continental fragments in the SKP, the ridge jump that made the Elan Bank a microcontinent occurred after 124 Ma. The development of the Southern Kerguelen Plateau 118–119 Ma contributed to the oceanic anoxic event 1, around 83.5 Ma sea floor spreading between India and Antarctica was asymmetric in the Kerguelen Plateau region with two-thirds of the sea floor created being added to the Antarctic Plate. A ridge jump eventually resulted in parts of the Kerguelen Plateau being transferred from the Indian to the Antarctic Plate, the Kerguelen hotspot produced the 5,000 km long Ninety East Ridge 82–38 Ma, and geochemical evidence suggests that this occurred at or near a spreading ridge.
The lack of a structure on the Antarctic Plate, however. As the Antarctic Plate moved over the Kerguelen hotspot the NKP formed over relatively old oceanic crust, flood basalts in the Kerguelen archipelago formed 30–24 Ma and less voluminous and more recent volcanism occurred until 1 Ma
Circle of latitude
A circle of latitude on the Earth is an abstract east–west circle connecting all locations around the earth at a given latitude. Circles of latitude are called parallels because they are parallel to each other – that is. A locations position along a circle of latitude is given by its longitude and their length can be calculated by a common sine or cosine function. The 60th circle of latitude is half as long as the equator, a circle of latitude is perpendicular to all meridians. The latitude of the circle is approximately the angle between the equator and the circle, with the vertex at the Earths centre. The equator is at 0°, and the North and South poles are at 90° north, the Equator is the longest circle of latitude and is the only circle of latitude which is a great circle. There is no limit to how precisely latitude can be measured, on a map, the circles of latitude may or may not be parallel, and their spacing may vary, depending on which projection is used to map the surface of the Earth onto a plane.
On an equirectangular projection, centered on the equator, the circles of latitude are horizontal, parallel, on other cylindrical and pseudocylindrical projections, the circles of latitude are horizontal and parallel, but may be spaced unevenly to give the map useful characteristics. On most non-cylindrical and non-pseudocylindrical projections, the circles of latitude are neither straight nor parallel, North American nations and states have mostly been created by straight lines, which are often parts of circles of latitudes. For instance, the border of Colorado is at 41°N while the southern border is at 37°N. Roughly half the length of border between the United States and Canada follows 49°N, there are five major circles of latitude, listed below from north to south. The position of the Equator is fixed but the latitudes of the other circles depend on the tilt of this axis relative to the plane of the Earths orbit, the equator is the circle that is equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole.
It divides the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, of the parallels or circles of latitude, it is the longest, and the only great circle. All the other parallels are smaller and centered only on the earths axis, the Arctic Circle is the southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours. Similarly, the Antarctic Circle marks the northernmost latitude in the Southern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours. The Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn mark the northernmost and southernmost latitudes at which the sun may be directly overhead. The latitude of the circles is equal to the Earths axial tilt. In 2000 the mean value of the tilt was about 23° 26′ 21″, the main long-term cycle causes the axial tilt to fluctuate between about 22. 1° and 24. 5° with a period of 41,000 years
Antarctic was a Swedish steamship built in Drammen, Norway in 1871. She was used on several expeditions to the Arctic region. In 1895 the first confirmed landing on the mainland of Antarctica was made from this ship, Antarctic was a barque with three masts and equipped with a steam engine. Build in 1871 at Holmen in Drammen under the name Cap Nor, in the early 1890s Norwegian ship-owner Svend Foyn wanted to expand his business to the Antarctic Ocean thereby needing capable ships. Foyn purchased Cap Nor, made repairs and after completion renamed the ship Antarctic. From 1893 the ship was deployed to the Antarctic ocean for whale hunting, in 1897 the ship was purchased by Alfred Gabriel Nathorst for his planned expedition to Svalbard. Again extensive repairs were made prior to the expedition in 1898, in 1899 Nathorst sold the ship to Georg Carl Amdrup for his expedition to East Greenland. In 1900 Amdrup sold Antarctic to Otto Nordenskjöld who needed the ship for his Antarctic expedition, in 1893 Antarctic captained by Leonard Kristensen set off on a whaling expedition to Antarctica led by Henrik Johan Bull and financed by Foyn.
The ship was equipped with 11 harpoon guns, an arsenal of explosives,8 whaleboats and 31 men, the first summer was spent around the Kerguelen Islands with winter camp in Melbourne. On September 28,1894 the ship went off to sea heading for the Ross Sea, on January 24,1895 a boat was put ashore at Cape Adare at the northern extremity of Victoria Land with six men including Bull, Borchgrevink and Tunzelmann. The party performed the first confirmed landing on the continent of Antarctica, in 1898 Antarctic captained by Emil Nilsson carried Nathorst’s polar expedition to Bear Island and Kong Karls Land. Among the participating scientists were Axel Hamberg, Otto Kjellström, Gustaf Kolthoff, the same year Antarctic carried Amdrup’s expedition to East Greenland. In 1901 the ship, on loan from Nordenskjöld, carried the second season of the Swedish-Russian Arc-of-Meridian Expedition under the command of Gerard De Geer to Svalbard, on October 16,1901 Antarctic now captained by Carl Anton Larsen left Gothenburg harbor on Nordenskjold’s Antarctic expedition.
This would become the ships last voyage, after exploring parts of the South Shetland Islands the expedition continued through the Antarctic Sound towards the Antarctic Peninsula. On January 15,1902 Hope Bay was discovered, in February Nordenskjöld chose Snow Hill Island as winter camp for part of the expedition. After all preparations were completed Antarctic left for the Falkland Islands, after the winter the ship left the Falklands on November 5 heading back to the Antarctic Peninsula by way of Ushuaia for supplies. On December 29 Antarctic was trapped in ice near Hope Bay. Antarctic broke free and continued towards Paulet Island, on the way the ship once again was trapped in ice on January 3,1903
Scott Island is a small uninhabited island of volcanic origin in the Ross Sea, Southern Ocean,505 kilometres northeast of Cape Adare, the northeastern extremity of Victoria Land, Antarctica. It is 565 metres long north-south, and between 130 metres and 340 metres wide, reaching a height of 54 metres and covering an area of 4 hectares. Haggits Pillar, a stack reaching 62 metres in height and measuring 50 metres in diameter, the island has two small coves with beaches, the rest of the island being surrounded by high cliffs. One of the coves is on the northeastern coast and the other opposite Haggitts Pillar on the western coast of the island. The island was discovered and landed upon on 25 Dec 1902 by captain William Colbeck, commander of the SY Morning, Colbeck originally planned to name the island Markham Island, after Sir Clements Markham, but decided to name it after Scott. Haggits Pillar is named after Colbecks mothers family name, Haggit, in 2006, a mapping expedition to the Ross Sea found the islands 2.3 kilometres north of their previously determined position.
Scott Island is part of the Ross Dependency, claimed by New Zealand, there was an automatic weather station on the island from December 1987 to March 1999. The records show a temperature of a few °C below 0 °C in summer. On 12 Feb 2009 Andrew Perry and Molly Kendall, crew members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Societys ship MY Steve Irwin, were married on the island by captain Paul Watson. Composite Antarctic Gazetteer List of Antarctic islands south of 60° S SCAR Territorial claims in Antarctica Birds observed at Scott Island, Ross Sea, Antarctica Gerhard Wörner, volcanic observations on Scott Island in the Antarctic Ocean, Polarforschung,60, 82–83
A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of the Earths land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms. They are subdivided in ecoregions, which are classified in biomes or habitat types, as such, biogeographic realms designations are used to indicate general groupings of organisms based on their shared biogeography. Biogeographic realms correspond to the kingdoms of botany or zoogeographic regions of zoology. Biogeographic realms are characterized by the history of the organisms they contain. Biomes are characterized by similar climax vegetation, each realm may include a number of different biomes. The biogeographic realms of Udvardy were defined based on taxonomic composition, the rank corresponds more or less to the floristic kingdoms and zoogeographic regions. The usage of the ecozone is more variable. It was used originally in stratigraphy, in Canadian literature, the term was used by Wiken in macro level land classification, with geographic criteria.
Later, Schültz would use it with ecological and physiognomical criteria, in the Global 200/WWF scheme, originally the term biogeographic realm in Udvardy sense was used. However, in a scheme of BBC, it was replaced by the term ecozone, in the WWF system, The Australasia realm includes Australia, the islands of Wallacea, New Guinea, the East Melanesian islands, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. The Palearctic and Nearctic are sometimes grouped into the Holarctic realm, the drainage basins of the principal oceans and seas of the world are marked by continental divides. The grey areas are endorheic basins that do not drain to the ocean
It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,000,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent, for comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is a desert, with precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, protista, where it occurs, is tundra. The continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources.
In 1895, the first confirmed landing was conducted by a team of Norwegians, Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and thirty-eight have signed it since then, the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continents ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations, the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning opposite to the Arctic, opposite to the north. Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c.350 B. C, marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century A. D. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for locations that could be defined as opposite to the north.
For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called France Antarctique, the first formal use of the name Antarctica as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. Antarctica has no population and there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia. Cook came within about 120 km of the Antarctic coast before retreating in the face of ice in January 1773. The first confirmed sighting of Antarctica can be narrowed down to the crews of ships captained by three individuals, according to various organisations, ships captained by three men sighted Antarctica or its ice shelf in 1820, von Bellingshausen, Edward Bransfield, and Nathaniel Palmer
The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska, Finland, Iceland, Russia, land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover, with predominantly treeless permafrost-containing tundra. Arctic seas contain seasonal sea ice in many places, the Arctic region is a unique area among Earths ecosystems. For example, the cultures in the region and the Arctic indigenous peoples have adapted to its cold, in recent years, Arctic sea ice decline has been caused by global warming. Life in the Arctic includes organisms living in the ice and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, land animals, Arctic land is bordered by the subarctic. The word Arctic comes from the Greek word ἀρκτικός, near the Bear, there are a number of definitions of what area is contained within the Arctic. The area can be defined as north of the Arctic Circle, the southern limit of the midnight sun. The Arctics climate is characterized by cold winters and cool summers and its precipitation mostly comes in the form of snow and is low, with most of the area receiving less than 50 cm.
High winds often stir up snow, creating the illusion of continuous snowfall, average winter temperatures can be as low as −40 °C, and the coldest recorded temperature is approximately −68 °C. Coastal Arctic climates are moderated by oceanic influences, having generally warmer temperatures, the Arctic is affected by current global warming, leading to Arctic sea ice shrinkage, diminished ice in the Greenland ice sheet, and Arctic methane release as the permafrost thaws. Due to the migration of the planets isotherms, the Arctic region is currently shrinking. Perhaps the most spectacular result of Arctic shrinkage is sea ice loss, there is a large variance in predictions of Arctic sea ice loss, with models showing near-complete to complete loss in September from 2040 to some time well beyond 2100. About half of the models show near-complete to complete sea ice loss in September by the year 2100. Arctic life is characterized by adaptation to short growing seasons with long periods of sunlight, Arctic vegetation is composed of plants such as dwarf shrubs, herbs and mosses, which all grow relatively close to the ground, forming tundra.
As one moves northward, the amount of available for plant growth decreases considerably. Colder summer temperatures cause the size, abundance and variety of plants to decrease, trees cannot grow in the Arctic, but in its warmest parts, shrubs are common and can reach 2 m in height, sedges and lichens can form thick layers. In the coldest parts of the Arctic, much of the ground is bare, non-vascular plants such as lichens and mosses predominate, along with a few scattered grasses, herbivores on the tundra include the Arctic hare, lemming and caribou. They are preyed on by the owl, Arctic fox, Grizzly bear
As such, it is regarded as the fourth-largest of the five principal oceanic divisions, smaller than the Pacific and Indian Oceans but larger than the Arctic Ocean. This ocean zone is cold, northward flowing waters from the Antarctic mix with warmer subantarctic waters. By way of his voyages in the 1770s, Captain James Cook proved that waters encompassed the southern latitudes of the globe. Since then, geographers have disagreed on the Southern Oceans northern boundary or even existence, considering the part of the Pacific, Atlantic. Others regard the seasonally-fluctuating Antarctic Convergence as the natural boundary and names for oceans and seas were internationally agreed when the International Hydrographic Bureau, the precusor to the IHO, convened the First International Conference on 24 July 1919. The IHO published these in its Limits of Oceans and Seas, Australian authorities regard the Southern Ocean as lying immediately south of Australia. Map publishers using the term Southern Ocean on their maps include Hema Maps, Southern Ocean is an obsolete name for the Pacific Ocean or South Pacific, coined by Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to discover it, who approached it from the north.
The South Seas is an archaic synonym. A1745 British Act of Parliament established a prize for discovering a Northwest Passage to the Western and Southern Ocean of America, authors using Southern Ocean to name the waters encircling the unknown southern polar regions used varying limits. James Cooks account of his second voyage implies New Caledonia borders it, peacocks 1795 Geographical Dictionary said it lay to the southward of America and Africa, John Payne in 1796 used 40 degrees as the northern limit, the 1827 Edinburgh Gazetteer used 50 degrees. The United Kingdoms South Australia Act 1834 described the waters forming the southern limit of the new colony of South Australia as the Southern Ocean. The Colony of Victorias Legislative Council Act of 1881 delimited part of the division of Bairnsdale as along the New South Wales boundary to the Southern ocean. The limit followed the west coast of Tasmania southwards to the South East Cape and went eastwards to Broughton Island, New Zealand, the northern limits of the Southern Ocean were moved southwards in the IHOs 1937 second edition of the Limits of Oceans and Seas.
From this edition, much of the northern limit ceased to abut land masses. As is discussed in detail below, prior to the 2002 edition the limits of oceans explicitly excluded the seas lying within each of them. The Great Australian Bight was unnamed in the 1928 edition, and it therefore encompassed former Southern Ocean waters but was technically not inside any of the three adjacent oceans by 1937. To perform direct comparisons of current and former limits of oceans it is necessary to consider, or at least be aware of, the limits of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans have therefore been extended South to the Antarctic Continent. The IHO readdressed the question of the Southern Ocean in a survey in 2000, of its 68 member nations,28 responded, and all responding members except Argentina agreed to redefine the ocean, reflecting the importance placed by oceanographers on ocean currents
South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a group of Antarctic islands, lying about 120 kilometres north of the Antarctic Peninsula, with a total area of 3,687 square kilometres. By the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, the islands sovereignty is neither recognized nor disputed by the signatories, the islands have been claimed by the United Kingdom since 1908 and have been part of the British Antarctic Territory since 1962. They are claimed by the governments of Chile and by Argentina, several countries maintain research stations on the islands. Most of them are situated on King George Island, benefitting from the airfield of the Chilean base Eduardo Frei, there are sixteen research stations to date in different parts of the islands, with Chilean stations being the greatest in number. Research is often a shared duty of nations, with the Chilean-United States Shirreff Base being one example, the Dutchman Dirck Gerritsz in 1599, or the Spaniard Gabriel de Castilla in 1603, supposedly sailed south of the Drake Passage in the South Shetland Islands area.
In 1818 Juan Pedro de Aguirre obtained permission from the Buenos Aires authorities to establish a base for sealing on some of the islands near the South Pole. Thus Livingston Island became the first land discovered south of the 60th southern latitude. Smith revisited the South Shetlands, landed on King George Island on 16 October 1819, the Spanish Navy ship San Telmo sank in September 1819 whilst trying to go through the Drake Passage. Parts of her wreckage were found months by sealers on the north coast of Livingston Island. From December 1819 to January 1820, the islands were surveyed and mapped by Lieutenant Edward Bransfield on board the Williams, the discovery of the islands attracted British and American sealers. The first sealing ship to operate in the area was the brig Espirito Santo, the ship arrived at Rugged Island off Livingston Island, where its British crew landed on Christmas Day 1819, and claimed the islands for King George III. A narrative of the events was published by the master, Joseph Herring.
The Espirito Santo was followed from the Falkland Islands by the American brig Hersilia, commanded by Captain James Sheffield, having circumnavigated the Antarctic continent, the Russian Antarctic expedition of Fabian von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev arrived at the South Shetlands in January 1821. The Russians surveyed the islands and named them, landing on both King George Island and Elephant Island, the name New South Britain was used briefly, but was soon changed to South Shetland Islands. The name South Shetland Islands is now established in international usage, both island groups lie at a similar distance from the South Pole and North Pole respectively, but the South Shetlands are much colder. Seal hunting and whaling was conducted on the islands during the 19th, from 1908 the islands were governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependency, but they have only been occupied since the establishment of a scientific research station in 1944. The archipelago, together with the nearby Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia, is a popular tourist destination during the austral summer.
As a group of islands, the South Shetland Islands are located at 62°0′S 58°0′W and they are within the region 61° 00–63°37 South, 53° 83–62°83 West
Antarctica is one of eight terrestrial biogeographic realms. The ecosystem includes Antarctica and several groups in the southern Atlantic. Antarcticas two flowering plant species, the Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearlwort, are found on the northern and western parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica is home to a diversity of animal life, including penguins and whales. These islands have a milder climate than Antarctica proper, and support a greater diversity of tundra plants, although they are all too windy. The ocean there is so full of phytoplankton because around the ice continent water rises from the depths to the light flooded surface, on August 20,2014, scientists confirmed the existence of microorganisms living 800 metres below the ice of Antarctica. Millions of years ago, Antarctica was warmer and wetter, and supported the Antarctic flora, including forests of podocarps, Antarctica was part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland, which gradually broke up by continental drift starting 110 million years ago.
The separation of South America from Antarctica 30-35 million years ago allowed the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to form, the Antarctic flora subsequently died out in Antarctica, but is still an important component of the flora of southern Neotropic and Australasia, which were former parts of Gondwana. Some botanists recognize an Antarctic Floristic Kingdom that includes Antarctica, New Zealand, four tundra ecoregions are recognized, Terauds, A, Chown, SL, Morgan, F, Peat, HJ, Watts, D, et al. CS1 maint, Explicit use of et al