The Geography of Heard Island and McDonald Islands

The Geography of Heard Island and McDonald Islands


Location: islands in the Indian Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica

Geographic coordinates: 53 06 S, 72 31 E

Map references: Antarctic Region

Area: total: 412 sq km land: 412 sq km water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than two times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 101.9 km

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

Climate: antarctic

Terrain: Heard Island - 80% ice-covered, bleak and mountainous, dominated by a large massif (Big Ben) and an active volcano (Mawson Peak); McDonald Islands - small and rocky

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Mawson Peak, on Big Ben 2,745 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (2005)

Irrigated land: 0 sq km

Natural hazards: Mawson Peak, an active volcano, is on Heard Island

Environment - current issues: NA

Environment - international agreements:

Geography - note: Mawson Peak on Heard Island is the highest Australian mountain (at 2,745 meters, it is taller than Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia proper), and one of only two active volcanoes located in Australian territory, the other being McDonald Island; in 1992, McDonald Island broke its dormancy and began erupting; it has erupted several times since, the most recent being in 2005

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