Kerguelen Islands

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Kerguelen Islands

The Kerguelen Archipelago is in the southern Indian Ocean at Template:Coor dm. The main island, Grande Terre, originally called Desolation Island, is 6,675 km2 and it is surrounded by another 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km². The climate is cold, very windy and the seas are usually rough.

The most important of the satellite islands are:

  • Îles Nuageuses (Northwest)
  • Île de Castries (North, 48°41'S, 69º29'E)
  • Île Leygues (North)
  • Île Howe (North)
  • Île Saint-Lanne Gramont (North, area 45.8 km², 48º55'S, 69º12'E)
  • Île Foch (North, area 206.2 km², altitude 687 m)
  • Île du Port (North, in the Golfe des Baliniers, area 43.0 km², altitude 340 m)
  • Île Violette (North, 49°07'S, 69º40'E
  • Île de l'Ouest (West)
  • Île aux Rennes (Southeast, area 36.7 km², altitude 199 m, 49°32'S, 69º54'E)

The main island measures 150 km East-West and 120 km North-South. The highest peak is Mont Ross, with an elevation of 1850 m. In the West, it is covered by Cook Glacier. The island has numerous peninsulas, such as:

  • Péninsule Courbet (East)
  • Presqu'île Jeanne d'Arc (Southeast)
  • Presqu'île Ronarch (Southeast, attaced to Presqu'île Jeanne d'Arc)
  • Péninsule Rallier du Baty (Southwest)
  • Péninsule Loranchet (Northwest)
  • Presqu'île de la Société de géographie (North)
  • Presqu'île Joffre (North)

The islands are one of four districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, and were discovered by Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen-Trémarec in February 1772. The archipelago was exploited for its seal population until their destruction, fur seals in the 18th century and elephant seals in the early 20th century. A number of expeditions have briefly visited the islands, including that of James Cook in 1776.

Kerguelen has been used by a small number of science teams since 1949, with a population of 50-100 always present. There is also a satellite tracking station. The main island is also home to a well-established feral cat population descended from ships' cats. They survive on sea birds and introduced rabbits.

The main base, "capital" of the district, is located at the eastern end of the Golfe du Morbihan at 49°21'S, 70°13'E and is known as Port-Aux-Français. Facilities include a bar, gym, hospital, library and the chapel of Notre-dame des Vents. Historic localities, all on the main island, include:

  • Anse Betsy (historic geomagnetic station at 49°10'S, 70°13'E)
  • Baie de l'Observatoire (historic geomagnetic station at 49°21'S, 70°12'E)
  • Cabane Port-Raymond (scientific camp at 49°20', 69°49'E)
  • Cap Ratmanoff (geomagnetic station at 49°14'S, 70°34'E, the easternmost point)
  • La Montjoie (scientific camp at 48°59'S, 68°50'E)
  • Port Bizet (seismographic station at 49°31'12"S, 69°54'36" E)
  • Port Christmas (historic geomagnetic station at 48°41'S, 69°03'E)
  • Port Couvreux (former whaling station and geomagnetic station at 49°17'S, 69°42'E)
  • Port Curieuse (harbor on the West coast at 49°22'S, 68°48'E)
  • Port Douzième (literally Twelfth Port, hut and geomagnetic station at 49°31'S, 70°09'E)
  • Port Jeanne d'Arc (former whaling station and historic geomagnetic station at 49°33'S, 69°49'E)

In the seafaring novel Desolation Island one of the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, the crew repairs their disabled ship on an island that strongly resembles Kerguelen.

The archipelago also plays a role in the novel Kilo Class by Patrick Robinson ISBN 0-06-109685-7

Since 1963, Template:Coor dm is a launch site for sounding rockets (mainly Arcas, Dragon and Eridan).

See also

External links

fr:Kerguelen (îles) it:Isole Kerguelen nl:Kerguelen ja:ケルゲレン諸島 pl:Wyspy Kerguelena sl:Otočje Kerguelen

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