Saturday, March 17, 2007

Virtually Visiting Grande Terre of the Kerguelen Islands

As I was wandering around Google Earth the above caught my interest. On Grande Terre of the Kerguelen Islands there is a frozen river that only melts near the shore. It was such a stunning thing to behold I decided to see more of Grande Terre online and share it with you.

The islands of Kerguelen are formed by dormant volcanoes. The weather is harshly cold with high winds and rough seas for most of the year. The closest land mass is Antarctica at about 1,200 miles away while Africa and Australia are almost double the distance. The landscape is heavily glaciated with mountains all over the place. The swampy eastern area is covered by snow during the winter.

There is a richness of life on the land, though. Penguins (lots of them), sea lions, and other types of sea birds all make homes under the Southern Lights. Ferrel cats from ships have thrived on the island. Scientists live year round on the island and minor rockets are periodically launched from the base.

To see the greatness of Grande Terre there are several places to go. There is an interactive map which pin points where pictures were taken here. There are pictures on Google Earth which can also be viewed via Panoramio. There are more galleries also online. Finally, Discover France has some introductionary information.

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