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South Georgia, South Georgia

South Georgia is an island lying on the Scotia Arc in the South Atlantic Ocean located about 1,300 Km ESE of the Falkland Islands. The island is about 160 Km long.

Africa and South America were at one time a single continental mass. For over 200 million years, the two have continued to move away from each other. This movement takes place due to seismic activity on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a major fault in the earth's crust, running from Iceland to the edge of Antarctica. Molten basalt constantly rises to the sea bed from the earth's interior, forcing apart the plates on which stand the Americas and Africa. In the South Atlantic, the only visible evidence of this substantial feature are the volcanic islands of Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.

Nearly two hundred islands lay scattered to the east and south of Latin America.These islands, which include South Georgia, were mainly discovered and charted by British navigators, and form part of the Scotia Arc which extends from the Andes to the Antarctic continent.

Glaciers cover some 56% of the island. They have been retreating for 17,000 years, depositing millions of tons of moraine on the floor of the island's bays and surrounding ocean, and causing hazards to shipping

The steep-sided mountains meet the sea in a series of high cliffs broken, particularly on the north-east coast, by many large bays and inlets. These provide a natural habitat for wildlife and excellent deep-water anchorages for shipping and whaling stations. All these bays are the product of glacial activity , and some are still being deepened by the island's 161 glaciers.

Much of the island is rugged and mountainous, covered by permanent ice and snow with sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen. The island has steep, glacier-covered mountains. The highest point is Mount Paget at 2,915 m.