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Definition: Antarctic Peninsula from Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary

Peninsula, Antarctica, extending ab. 700 mi. (1126 km.) from 73°S to approx. 63°S, and lying between 59°W and 67°W; claimed by Britain, Argentina, and Chile; N part known as Graham Land, S part as Palmer Land; separated from South Shetland Is. by Bransfield Strait; near its base on W are Alexander I. and Charcot I. and further N on the W lies the Palmer Archipelago; British and Chilean scientific stations destroyed by volcanic activity 1969.


Summary Article: Antarctic Peninsula
from Antarctica: An Encyclopedia

69°30’ S, 65°00’ W. By far the biggest, most prominent Peninsula in Antarctica. One can't miss it. At surface level it forms the most northerly tip of the Antarctic continental land mass (or rather, ice mass), and reaches out toward South America like a 1300-km-long stubby finger. Tierra del Fuego is only about 1000 km away across the Drake Passage, and is connected geologically with the Peninsula. Continuing to speak geologically, the Peninsula is a string of islands separated from the real continent of Antarctica at bedrock level, the ice-covering of the whole continent joining it all together at the surface as one big ice-mass. Its main features are Graham Land, Palmer Land, the Larsen Ice Shelf, and the Eternity Range. The highest point is Mount Jackson, at 10,446 feet. The Welch Mountains rise to 9892 feet. Other significant mountains are Hope, Français, Charity, Coman, and Faith, in that order. Discovered probably by the Russian, von Bellingshausen, in 1820, and reputedly named by him as Palmer's Land (later Palmer Land) for Nat Palmer, the American navigator he met in these waters at that time. The British navigator John Biscoe called it Graham Land (at least that was the name he gave to what is now called the Graham Coast), as did many countries later on. The whole was proved to be a Peninsula by Dallmann in 1874. In the next century, the Chileans called it O'Higgins Land (actually Tierra de O'Higgins), while the Argentines called it San Martín Land (actually Tierra San Martín). By 1958 more and more people were calling it the Antarctic Peninsula, and on Nov. 20, 1963, the U.S., UK, Australia, and NZ made an international agreement to make that its official name. Graham Land now refers to the N half, and Palmer Land to the S half. See Graham Land and Palmer Land for more history.

© 2011 McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers

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