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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (overseas territory of the UK, also claimed by Argentina) Geography

    Location: Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the tip of South America

    Geographic coordinates: 54 30 S, 37 00 W

    Map references: Antarctic Region

    Area:
    total: 4,066 sq km
    land: 4,066 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: includes Shag Rocks, Clerke Rocks, Bird Island

    Area—comparative: slightly larger than Rhode Island

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: NA km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

    Terrain: most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous; South Georgia is largely barren and has steep, glacier-covered mountains; the South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mount Paget 2,915 m

    Natural resources: fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 0%
    forests and woodland: 0%
    other: 100% (largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen)

    Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1993)

    Natural hazards: the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism

    Environment—current issues: NA

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: NA
    signed, but not ratified: NA

    Geography—note: the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage; reindeer, introduced early in this century, live on South Georgia

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)