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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

Geography Of Tristan Da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is an archipelago of five islands within the southern Atlantic Ocean, the biggest of which is the island of Tristan da Cunha itself and the second-biggest, the isolated bird haven Gough Island. It creates a portion of a wider territory named Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha which incorporates Saint Helena and Ascension Island.

The main island, Tristan da Cunha, is fairly mountainous; the only flat area is the location of the capital, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, on the northwest coast. The highest point is a volcano known as Queen Mary’s Peak. At 6,765 feet, Queen Mary’s Peak is blanketed by snow during the winter and is listed as an ultra prominent peak. Tristan da Cunha is considered to have been created by a long-lived center of upwelling magma called the Tristan hotspot.

The climate is marine cool to temperate with small temperature variations between the summer and the winter and between day and night.

Even some of the smaller islands have a quantity of plant cover, with the larger ones dominated by moss and ferns. The flora on the archipelago consists of many endemic species and many that have a broad circumpolar distribution in the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans. Therefore, many of the species that are found in Tristan da Cunha are also found as far away as New Zealand.

It also hosts ocean-going species including Subantarctic Fur Seal, the Southern Elephant Seal and birds such as Macaroni Penquins and Northern Rockhopper Penguins. The islands are vital for their bird life, both those established on the islands and breeding seabirds, of which 20 species nest on Gough Island alone. Significant species incorporate Tristan Thrust, Gough Bunting, Tristan Bunting, Tristan Albatross, Gough Island Moorhen, Atlantic Petrel, and the Inaccessible Island Rail. There are no indigenous amphibians, freshwater fish, land mammals or reptiles.

Image Caption: View from the top of Gough Island. Credit: Steven Chown/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5)

Geography Of Tristan Da Cunha