Macquarie Island facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Macquarie Island *
Wreck of the 'Gratitude', Macquarie Island, 1911.jpg
A shipwreck on Macquarie Island, 1911
Country Australia
Type Natural
Criteria vii, viii
Reference 629
Region ** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 1997 (21st Session)

Macquarie Island is a large island in the Southern Ocean. It is about 1,500 km (932 mi) south east of Tasmania, and about half way between Australia and Antarctica. The island became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Macquarie Island is about 34 km (21 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. It was first discovered in July 1810, by Captain Hasselburgh, who was searching for places to hunt whales and seals. No people live there now. The only way to get to the island is by sea and there are no harbors to dock a ship.

Geology

The island was formed by two tectonic plates meeting and forcing each other upwards. It is the only place on Earth where rocks from the Earth's mantle, 6 km (4 mi) below the ocean floor, are being pushed up above sea level. Details are in this reference under section "Criterion (viii)".

Plants and animals

Many birds and animals use Macquarie Island to breed. About 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals come to the island every year. Four types of penguins live on the island. There are about 850,000 royal penguins, 200,000 king penguins, 10,000 gentoo penguins, and rockhopper penguins with numbers thought to be between 20,000 and 1,000,000.

In 1977 Macquarie Island became a Biosphere Reserve. The coastal ecosystem is recognized as part of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

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