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The Falkland Islands comprise two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland (in Spanish Isla Gran Malvina and Isla Soledad respectively), and about 776 small islands.[3] The total land area is 4,700 square miles (12,000 km2) , approximately the same area as Connecticut or Northern Ireland, with a coastline estimated at 800 square miles (2,100 km2).

Much of the land is part of the two main islands separated by the Falkland Sound: East Falkland, home to the capital of Stanley and the majority of the population, and West Falkland. Both islands have mountain ranges, rising to 2,313 feet (705 m) at Mount Usborne on East Falkland. There are also some boggy plains, most notably Lafonia, on the southern half of East Falkland. Virtually the entire area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep.

Smaller islands surround the main two. They include Barren Island, Beaver Island, Bleaker Island, Carcass Island, George Island, Keppel Island, Lively Island, New Island, Pebble Island, Saunders Island, Sealion Island, Speedwell Island, Staats Island, Weddell Island, and West Point Island. The Jason Islands lie to the north west of the main archipelago, and Beauchene Island some distance to its south. Speedwell Island and George Island are split from East Falkland by Eagle Passage.

The islands claim a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22 km/14 mi) and an exclusive fishing zone of 200 nautical miles (370 km/230 mi), which has been a source of disagreement with Argentina.

Surrounded by cool South Atlantic waters, the Falkland Islands have a climate very much influenced by the ocean with a narrow annual temperature range. January averages about 9 °C, with average daily high of 13 °C, while July averages about 2 °C with average daily high 4 °C. Rainfall is relatively low at about 24 inches (610 mm). Humidity and winds, however, are constantly high. Snow is rare, but can occur at almost any time of year.

Biogeographically, the Falkland Islands are classified as part of the Neotropical realm, together with South America. It is also classified as part of the Antarctic Floristic Kingdom.


October 13, 2008 at 10:27 am Leave a comment


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