Adelaide Base, February 1962
Adelaide Island shown within the Antarctic Peninsula
|Area||4,663 km2 (1,800.4 sq mi)|
|Length||120 km (75 mi)|
|Width||32 km (19.9 mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,315 m (7,595 ft)|
|Highest point||Mount Gaudry|
|Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System|
Adelaide Island or Isla Adelaida or Isla Belgrano is a large, mainly ice-covered island, 120 kilometres (75 mi) long and 32 kilometres (20 mi) wide, lying at the north side of Marguerite Bay off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Ginger Islands lie off the southern end. The island lies within the Argentine, British and Chilean Antarctic claims.
The source of the island's name is unknown. British Antarctic Survey records state that Charcot named the island "Adelie Land" after the huge number of Adelie Penguins that lived on its coast (the penguins being named after the wife of Dumont d'Urville). This in turn was turned into Adelaide Island by the British Graham Land Expedition (1934–37). It has also been supposed that the island was in fact named by Biscoe himself for Queen Adelaide of the United Kingdom.
The Island has two bases on it. The old Adelaide Island base (also known as Base T) was set up by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS), which became the British Antarctic Survey. The Base was closed due to an unstable skiway and operations were moved to the new Rothera Research Station during 1976-77; this base remains open. The old BAS base was transferred to the Chilean authorities in 1984, when it was renamed Teniente Luis Carvajal Villaroel Antarctic Base. The station was then used as a summer only station by the Chileans. However the skiway, and 'ramp' to the station from the plateau have all become so unstable, that the Chilean Air Force (FACh) have ceased operating there. The Chilean Navy has visited the station almost every summer to ensure it is in good keeping. BAS employees also visit the station during the winter when access from the plateau is easier.
Due to the length of time that it has been inhabited the island is well mapped by Antarctic standards.