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Antarctica :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands Print
Page last updated on August 11, 2020
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  • Introduction :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Background field listing
    The UK transferred these uninhabited, barren, sub-Antarctic islands to Australia in 1947. Populated by large numbers of seal and bird species, the islands have been designated a nature preserve.
  • Geography :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Location field listing
    islands in the Indian Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    53 06 S, 72 31 E
    Map references field listing
    Antarctic Region
    Area field listing
    total: 412 sq km
    land: 412 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 203
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly more than two times the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    101.9 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing
    Terrain field listing
    Heard Island - 80% ice-covered, bleak and mountainous, dominated by a large massif (Big Ben) and an active volcano (Mawson Peak); McDonald Islands - small and rocky
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mawson Peak on Big Ben volcano 2,745 m
    Natural resources field listing
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 100% (2011 est.)
    Natural hazards field listing
    Mawson Peak, an active volcano, is on Heard Island
    Environment - current issues field listing
    none; uninhabited and mostly ice covered
    Geography - note field listing
    Mawson Peak on Heard Island is the highest Australian mountain (at 2,745 meters, it is taller than Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia proper), and one of only two active volcanoes located in Australian territory, the other being McDonald Island; in 1992, McDonald Island broke its dormancy and began erupting; it has erupted several times since, most recently in 2005
  • People and Society :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Population field listing
  • Government :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    conventional short form: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
    abbreviation: HIMI
    etymology: named after American Captain John HEARD, who sighted the island on 25 November 1853, and American Captain William McDONALD, who discovered the islands on 4 January 1854
    Dependency status field listing
    territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Australian Antarctic Division)
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (territory of Australia)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    none (territory of Australia)
    Flag description field listing
    the flag of Australia is used
  • Economy :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Economy - overview field listing
    The islands have no indigenous economic activity, but the Australian Government allows limited fishing in the surrounding waters. Visits to Heard Island typically focus on terrestrial and marine research and infrequent private expeditions.
  • Communications :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Internet country code field listing
  • Military and Security :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of Australia; Australia conducts fisheries patrols
  • Transportation :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Ports and terminals field listing
    none; offshore anchorage only
  • Transnational Issues :: Heard Island and McDonald Islands
  • Disputes - international field listing