- Livingston Island
name = Livingston
image caption = Map of Livingston Island, Antarctica
map_custom = no
coordinates = coord|62|36|S|60|30|W|display=inline
South Shetland Islands
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|974|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on
length = convert|73|km|mi|0|abbr=on
width = convert|34|km|mi|0|abbr=on
highest mount = Mt Friesland
elevation = convert|1700|m|ft|0|abbr=on
population as of =
ethnic groups =
country = Antarctica
additional info = Administered under the
Antarctic Treaty System
Livingston Island (coord|62|36|S|60|30|W|) is an Antarctic island in the
South Shetland Islands, Western Antarcticalying between Greenwich and Snow Islands. This islandwas known to sealers as early as 1819, and the name Livingston has been well established in international usage for over 180 years.
Livingston is situated in the
Southern Ocean110 km to the northwest of Cape Roquemaurel on the Antarctic mainland, 830 km to the south-southeast of Cape Hornin South America, 820 km to the southeast of the Diego Ramirez Islands(the southernmost land of South America), 1000 km due south of the Falkland Islands, 1600 km to the southwest of South Georgia Island, and 3000 km from the South Pole.The Island is part of the South Shetlandsarchipelago, an islands chain extending over 500 km in east-northeast to west-southwest direction, and separated from the nearby Antarctic Peninsulaby Bransfield Strait, and from South Americaby the Drake Passage. The South Shetlandscover a total land area of 3687 km² comprising (from east to west) Clarence Island, Elephant Island, King George Island, Nelson Island, Robert Island, Greenwich Island, Livingston Island, Deception Island, Snow Island, Low Island and Smith Island, as well as numerous smaller islets and rocks. Livingston is separated from the neighbouring Greenwich Islandto the east and Snow Islandto the west-southwest respectively by McFarlane Straitand by Morton Strait. Deception Island, located barely 18 km southwest of Livingston’s Barnard Pointin the Bransfield Strait, is a volcano whose calderaforms the sheltered harbour of Port Foster entered by a single narrow passage known as Neptunes Bellows.
The Island extends 73 km from Start Point in the west to
Renier Pointin the east, its width varying from 5 km at the neck between South Bay and Hero Bayto 34 km between Botev Pointto the south and Williams Pointto the north, with surface area of 974 km². There are many islets and rocks in the surrounding waters, particularly off the north coast. More sizable among the adjacent smaller islands are Rugged Island off Byers Peninsula, Half Moon Island in Moon Bayand Desolation Island in Hero Bayto the north.
Ice cliffs, often withdrawing in the recent decades to uncover new coves, beaches and points, form most of the coastline. Except for isolated patches the land surface is covered by an ice cap, highly crevassed in certain segments, with ice domes and plateaus in the central and western areas, and a number of valley glaciers formed by the more mountainous relief of eastern Livingston. Typical of the Island’s glaciology are the conspicuous ash layers originating from volcanic activity on the neighbouring
Apart from the extensive
Byers Peninsula(61 km²) forming the west extremity of Livingston, the ice-free part of the island includes certain coastal areas at Cape Shirreff, Siddons Point, Hannah Point, Williams Point, Hurd Peninsulaand Rozhen Peninsula, as well as slopes in the mountain ranges, and ridges and heights in eastern Livingston that are too precipitous to keep snow. The principal mountain formations include Tangra Mountains(30 km long, with Mt Friesland rising to 1700 m), Bowles Ridge(6.5 km, elevation 822 m), Vidin Heights(8 km, 604 m), Burdick Ridge(773 m), Melnik Ridge(696 m) and Pliska Ridge(667 m).
The coastline of the island is irregular, with the more significant indentations of South Bay, False Bay,
Moon Bay, Hero, Barclay, New Plymouth, Osogovo and Walker, and the peninsulas of Hurd (extension 10 km), Rozhen (9 km), Burgas (10,5 km), Varna (12 km), Ioannes Paulus II (12.8 km) and Byers (15 km).
The local variety of the
Antarctic Peninsulaweather is particularly changeable, windy, humid and sunless; says Australian mountaineer Damien Gildea: ‘Livingston got just about the worst weather in the world’. Whiteouts are common, and blizzards can occur at any time of the year. Temperatures are rather constant, rarely exceeding 3°C in summer or falling below –11°C in winter, with wind chill temperatures up to 5-10°C lower.
Below are the average temperatures of the warmest month, coldest month, yearly average, and the average annual rainfall of Livingston Island compared with some other locations
Livingston Island (coastal areas): 1.3°C (34.3°F), –7°C (19.4°F), –2.7°C (27.1°F), 800 mm (31.5 inches);
London: 17°C (62.6°F), 3.9°C (39°F), 9.9°C (49.8°F), 611 mm (24 inches). Cherni Vrah(peak rising to 2,290 m just 6.5 km from Sofia): 8.6°C (47.5°F), –8.1°C (17.4°F), 0.1°C (32.2°F), 1,178 mm (46.4 inches); Sofia: 20.1°C (68.2°F), –1.1°C (30°F), 9.9°C (49.8°F), 575 mm (22.6 inches).
It was only in the Nineteenth century that any land was discovered in what today is ‘political’
Antarctica, and that land happened to be Livingston Island. Captain William Smith in the English merchant brig "Williams", while sailing to Valparaisoin 1819 deviated from his route south of Cape Horn, and on 19 February sighted the northeast extremity of Livingston, Williams Point.A few months later Smith revisited the South Shetlandsto land on King George Islandon 16 October 1819 and claim possession for Britain. In the meantime, a Spanish vessel had been damaged by severe weather in the Drake Passageand sunk off the north coast of Livingston in September 1819. The 74-gun "San Telmo" commanded by Captain Rosendo Porlier was the flagship of a Spanish naval squadron. The more than 600 men lost onboard the "San Telmo" were the first recorded people to die in Antarctica. While no one survived, parts of her wreckage were found subsequently by sealers on Half Moon Beach, Cape Shirreff.
In December 1819 William Smith returned with his ship to the
South Shetlands. This time he was chartered by Captain William Shirreff, British commanding officer in the Pacificstationed in Chile, and accompanied by Lieutenant Edward Bransfieldwho was tasked to survey and map the new lands. On 30 January 1820 they sighted the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula, unaware that three days earlier the continent had already been discovered by the Russian Antarctic expedition of Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen and Mihail Lazarev.One year later, the Russians had circumnavigated Antarctica and arrived in the South Shetlandsregion in January 1821 to find over 50 American and English sealing vessels and 1000 men taking hundreds of thousands of fur seal skins. While sailing between Deception Islandand Livingston (named Smolenskby the Russians) Bellingshausen met the American Captain Nathaniel Palmer, yet another pioneer of Antarctic exploration who himself had sighted the mainland in the previous November. Remains of huts and sealer artefacts are still found on Livingston, which possesses the second greatest concentration of historical sites in Antarctica(after South Georgia). The names of many geographical features on the Island also refer to its early history. Among the commemorated are ship captains such as the Americans Christopher Burdick, Charles Barnard, Robert Johnson, Donald MacKay, Robert Inott, David Leslie, Benjamin Brunow, Robert Macy, Prince Moores and William Napier, the Britons William Shirreff, M’Kean, John Walker, Ralph Bond, Christopher MacGregor, T. Binn and William Bowles, the Australian Richard Siddons, people like the New York shipowner James Byers, the American whaling merchants William and Francis Rotch, British Admiralty hydrographer Thomas Hurd, and John Miers, publisher of the first chart of the South Shetland Islandsbased on the work of William Smith, or sealing vessels like "Huron", "Williams", "Samuel", "Gleaner", "Huntress", "Charity", "Hannah", "Henry", "John", "Hero" and others. Some of the place names given by the Nineteen Century sealers are descriptive, such as Devils Point, Hell Gatesand Neck or Nothing Passage, hazardous places where ships and people were lost; Inept Cove, Needle Peak, or the Robbery Beacheswhere American sealers were robbed of their sealskins by the British. However, names like Livingston, Mount Frieslandand Renier Pointalso go back to the first few seasons after the discovery of the islands yet their particular origins remain unknown.
The permanent scientific bases of Juan Carlos I (
Spain) and St. Kliment Ohridski ( Bulgaria) were established in 1988 at South Bay. Other base facilities are the small Shirreff Base(or Guillermo Mann, Chileand the U.S.A.) on Cape Shirreffsince 1991, and the inactive base Cámara ( Argentina) on Half Moon Island since 1953. Occasional field camps support research in remote areas of the Island. Camp Byers( Spain) operates regularly near Nikopol Pointon Byers Peninsula, and the Camp Academiasite situated at elevation 541 m in upper Huron Glacier, Wörner Gaparea served as a base camp of the Tangra 2004/05topographic survey. Camp Academiais accessible by 11-12.5 km routes from St. Kliment Ohridski and Juan Carlos I respectively, and offers convenient overland access to Tangra Mountainsto the south; Bowles Ridge, Vidin Heights, Kaliakra Glacierand Saedinenie Snowfieldareas to the north; Huron Glacierto the east; and Perunika Glacierand Huntress Glacierto the west. Camp Academiawas named for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciencesin appreciation of Academy’s contribution to the Antarctic exploration, and has been designated as the summer post office Tangra 1091 of the Bulgarian Postssince 2004.
In order to protect Antarctica the
Antarctic Treatysystem enforces a strict general regime regulating human presence and activities on the continent, and designates certain protected territories where access is allowed only for scientific purposes, and with special permission.
There have been two such
nature reserves on Livingston Island since 1966, comprising respectively the extensive Byers Peninsula, and the small peninsula of Cape Shirrefftogether with San Telmo Islandand adjacent waters.
Subject of protection are the fossils demonstrating the link between Antarctica and other austral continents, a variety of abundant flora and fauna including colonies of seals and penguins that are the subject of scientific study and monitoring, as well as numerous historical monuments dating from the Nineteenth century.
tourismwas initiated in 1958 in the South Shetland Islands. Since then the number of tourists visiting Antarcticahas grown to tens of thousands annually, of whom over 95% tour the South Shetlandsand the nearby Antarctic Peninsula. Hannah Pointon the south coast of Livingston and Half Moon Island off the east coast, as well as the nearby Deception Islandand the Aitcho Islandsnear Greenwich Islandare among the most popular destinations frequented by cruise ships, offering walks amidst spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife.
St. Kliment Ohridski Base
Juan Carlos I Base
Antarctic Place-names Commission
List of Bulgarian toponyms in Antarctica
* Tangra 2004/05 Expedition
South Shetland Islands
* L.L. Ivanov et al, (from English Strait to Morton Strait, with illustrations and ice-cover distribution), 1:100000 scale topographic map, Antarctic Place-names Commission of Bulgaria, Sofia, 2005
* Text authorized for publication in Wikipedia by the [http://apc.mfa.government.bg Antarctic Place-names Commission of Bulgaria] .
* [http://www.70south.com/resources/islands/shetland 70south - more information on the South Shetland Islands including Livinston Island]
* [http://www.tangra2004bg.org/ Expedition Tangra 2004/05]
* [http://www.utm.csic.es/bae.asp Spanish base Juan Carlos I]
* [http://www.theomegafoundation.org/livingston03.htm Expedition Omega Livingston 2003]
* [http://www.cep.aq/apa/aspa/sites/aspa126/ Protected area Byers Peninsula]
* [http://www.cep.aq/apa/aspa/sites/aspa149/ Protected area Cape Shirreff]
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