Photo Friday: The Kerguelen Islands

The Kerguelen Islands, part of the French Southern and Antarctic lands, are located in the southern Indian Ocean.The islands are among the most isolated places on Earth, over 3200 km away from the nearest populated area. The largest island is Grand Terre (120 by 150 km). It contains the capital city of Port-aux-Francais. On the islands, there are only around 100 people, mostly scientists, sheepherders and fishers. The local people use only ships for travel and transport. The Kerguelen Islands also have a nickname,  the Desolation Islands.

The climate on the island is incessant with howling winds as well as rain almost every day throughout the year. The wind, whipping at about 49 degrees South in the Southern Hemisphere, places Kerguelen through the path of the belt of westerly winds, called “Furious Fifties.” The frigid temperatures have provided  conditions for the creation of multiple glaciers which are scattered across the island. The largest, Cook Glacier, located on the southwest section of the island, looks like a white cap decorated with ice. Mount Ross, covered with snow in the southeast, is one of the youngest volcanic mountain in the world.

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