Cockburn Island (Antarctica)

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Cockburn Island
Cockburn Island is located in Antarctic Peninsula
Cockburn Island
Cockburn Island
Cockburn Island is located in Antarctica
Cockburn Island
Cockburn Island
Location Antarctica
Coordinates 64°12′S 56°51′W / 64.200°S 56.850°W / -64.200; -56.850Coordinates: 64°12′S 56°51′W / 64.200°S 56.850°W / -64.200; -56.850
Length 2.7 km (1.68 mi)
Width 2.0 km (1.24 mi)
Highest elevation 450 m (1,480 ft)
Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System
Population Uninhabited

Cockburn Island is an oval island 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) long, consisting of a high plateau with steep slopes surmounted on the northwest side by a pyramidal peak 450 m (1,476 ft) high, lying in the north-east entrance to Admiralty Sound, south of the north-east end of Antarctic Peninsula. It was discovered by a British expedition under Ross, 1839–43, who named it for Admiral George Cockburn, Royal Navy, then senior Lord of the Admiralty.


Geologically, the area makes up the Cockburn Island Formation, which was studied extensively in the late 1990s by H. A. Jonkers.[1] Rocks found on the island are volcanic,[2] and the island is characterized by its "precipitous cliffs".[3] A "Pecten conglomerate" from the late Pliocene or early Pleistocene period has been identified on the island, situated on a wave-cut platform at 720–820 ft.[4]


The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 800 pairs of imperial shags. Although a large colony of Adélie penguins and snow petrel nests were reported from the island in 1901, it is not known whether they continue to breed there.[5] J.D. Hooker made a series of botanical collections on the island in 1843.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Francis, Jane E.; Pirrie, Duncan; Crame, J. Alistair (1 January 2006). Cretaceous-tertiary High-latitude Palaeoenvironments: James Ross Basin, Antarctica. Geological Society of London. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-86239-197-0. 
  2. ^ Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton (1847). Botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. discovery ships, Erebus and Terror: under the command of Captain Sir J.C. Ross, 1839-43. p. 535. 
  3. ^ Zalasiewicz, Jan; Williams, Mark (22 March 2012). The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 billion year story of Earth's climate. Oxford University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-19-163402-4. 
  4. ^ Richards, Horace (December 2007). Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines: Supplement 1965-1969. Academy of Natural Sciences. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-4223-1779-2. 
  5. ^ "Cockburn Island". BirdLife data zone: Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  6. ^ Putzke, Jair; Pereira, Antônio Batista (2001). The Antarctic Mosses: With Special Reference to the South Shetland Islands. Editora da ULBRA. p. 23. ISBN 978-85-7528-008-9. 

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