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Falkland Island Geography


The Falkland Islands comprise two main islands, West Falkland and East Falkland (in Spanish, Isla Gran Malvina and Isla Soledad respectively), and about 776 small islands. The islands are located 212 miles (184 nmi; 341 km) from the Isla de los Estados in Argentina (and 287 miles (249 nmi; 462 km) from the Argentine mainland); 304 miles (264 nmi; 489 km) from Chile; 669 miles (581 nmi; 1,077 km) west of the Shag Rocks (South Georgia) and 576 miles (501 nmi; 927 km) north of the British Antarctic Territory, which overlaps with the Argentine and Chilean claims to Antarctica in that region.

The total land area is 4,700 square miles (12,173 sq km), slightly smaller than Connecticut or Northern Ireland, with a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1288 km).

The two main islands on either side of Falkland Sound make up most of the land. These are East Falkland, which contains the capital, Stanley, and most of the population; and West Falkland. Both islands have mountain ranges, the highest point being Mount Usborne, 2312 feet (705 m) on East Falkland. There are also some boggy plains, most notably in Lafonia, on the southern half of East Falkland. Virtually the entire area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep.

Smaller islands surround the main two. They include Barren Island, Beaver Island, Bleaker Island, Carcass Island, George Island, Keppel Island, Lively Island, New Island, Pebble Island, Saunders Island, Sealion Island, Speedwell Island, Staats Island, Weddell Island, and West Point Island. The Jason Islands lie to the north west of the main archipelago, and Beauchene Island some distance to its south. Speedwell Island and George Island are split from East Falkland by Eagle Passage.

Numerous flora and fauna are found on the Falkland Islands. Notable fauna include colonies of the Magellanic Penguin.

The islands claim a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) and an exclusive fishing zone of 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi), which has been a source of disagreement with Argentina. Biogeographically, the Falkland Islands are classified as part of the Neotropical realm, together with South America. It is also classified as part of the Antarctic Floristic Kingdom.

Surrounded by cool South Atlantic waters, the Falkland Islands have a Maritime Subarctic climate (Koppen Cfc) which is very much influenced by the ocean by having a narrow annual temperature range. January average maximum temperature is about 55°F (12.8°C), while July maximum average temperature is about 39°F (3.9°C). The average annual rainfall is 22.58 in (574 mm) but East Falkland is generally wetter than West Falkland. Humidity and winds, however, are constantly high. Snow is rare, but can occur at almost any time of year. Gales are very frequent, particularly in winter. The climate is similar to the Shetland islands in the United Kingdom, but with less rainfall and longer and slightly more severe winters.


Location :
Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of southern Argentina

Geographic coordinates :
51 45 S, 59 00 W

Map references :
South America

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