South Orkney Islands

Image Map

Sorkney.jpg (18926 bytes)

South Orkney Islands; 60° 50' to 60° 83'S, 44° 25' to 46° 25'W

  • Four major islands (Coronation, Signy, Powell, and Laurie Islands), several minor ones with offlying islets and rocks of sedimentary origin
  • Area: 622 kmē.
  • Highest elevation: 1265 in (Mount Nivea, Coronation Island).
  • 85 % glaciated.
  • Sighted and first landing 1821 (by sealers).
  • Permanent occupation (scientific station) from 1903. Whaling station operated at Signy Island 1920-26.
  • British territory, part of British Antarctic Territory; also claimed by Argentina, part of 'Antartida Argentina' (under the aegis of the Antarctic Treaty).

The South Orkney Islands lie in the Scotia Sea about 600 km northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, 1440 km southeast of Tierra del Fuego or 800 km south of the Antarctic convergence.  They were discovered by American and British sealers in 1821 and have since served as a base for Scotch, French, and Argentine sealing and scientific expeditions.