Why is South America called a peninsula

Antarctic Peninsula Research


The map shows the northernmost part of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the offshore South Shetland Islands. The latitude of the area (around 60 degrees) corresponds roughly to that of central Sweden in the northern hemisphere.

The geological structures of the South American Andes continue in the arc of the Antarctic Peninsula (see 242.2). In addition to rock series from the early history of mountain formation on the edge of Gondwana, there are also many young volcanic rocks. The still active volcanic island Decepcíon in the southern part of the South Shetland Islands and the still active Mount Erebus on Ross Island - the southernmost volcano on earth (see 239.4) - prove the tectonic activity in the subsurface.

On the Antarctic Peninsula, several mountain flanks and coasts protrude from the comparatively thin inland ice in this region. There are numerous ice-free areas, but most of them are small and scattered.

There are comparatively many research sites in the area shown; on King George Island alone, there are seven year-round stations and one station only used in summer. You are there in a logistically favorable location. From South America they can be reached by plane in a few hours and by ship in a few days. In the southern summer the west coast is usually free of pack ice (see 239.4) - an exception in the Antarctic.

The Antarctic Peninsula is increasingly the destination of exclusive cruises departing from South America. Around 40,000 tourists currently visit Antarctica each year. Tourism is subject to international agreements. With the exception of tent camps, there are no accommodations on land. Excursions from cruise ships dominate, in which nature experiences are in the foreground.

Climate change is making itself felt in the Arctic, among other things, through the decline in the area of ​​the Larsen Ice Shelf (see map). The temperature of the sea water there has risen sharply in the last few decades. With regard to air temperatures, the west of the Antarctic has shown a relatively strong warming (+0.8 degrees per decade) in the last few decades, while this is low for the east of the continent (+0.1 degrees per decade).