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South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands


    • Affiliation:
      (dependent territory of the UK)

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

    • Map references:
      Antarctic Region

    • Area:

        total area:
        4,066 sq km

        land area:
        4,066 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly larger than Rhode Island

        note:
        includes Shag Rocks, Clerke Rocks, Bird Island

    • Land boundaries:
      0 km

    • Coastline:
      NA km

    • Maritime claims:

        exclusive fishing zone:
        200 nm

        territorial sea:
        12 nm

    • International disputes:
      administered by the UK, claimed by Argentina

    • 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

    • Natural resources:
      fish

    • Land use:

        arable land:
        0%

        permanent crops:
        0%

        meadows and pastures:
        0%

        forest 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

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        NA

        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

        international agreements:
        NA

    • 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 13-August-1997