New South Shetland
NEW SOUTH SHETLAND, or simply SOUTH SHETLAND, a group of islands on the borders of the Antarctic polar regions, lying about 600 miles south-south-east of Cape Horn, between 61° and 63° 10' S. lat. and between 53° and 63° W. long., and separated by Bransfield Strait from the region composed of Palmer Land, Trinity Land, Louis Philippe Land, &c. The more considerable islands are those of Smith (or James), Jameson (or Low), Snow, Livingston, Deception, Greenwich, Nelson, King George, Elephant, and Clarence. Deception Island is particularly remarkable as of purely volcanic origin. On the south-east side an opening 600 feet wide gives entrance to an internal crater-lake (Port Forster) nearly circular, with a diameter of about five miles and a depth of 97 fathoms. Steam still issues from numerous vents, and hot springs bubble up from beneath the snow-clad surface (E. N. Kendall in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., 1831). Most of the islands are rocky and mountainous, and some of their peaks are between 6000 and 7000 feet in height. Covered with snow for the greater part of the year, and growing nothing but lichens, mosses, and some scanty grass, the South Shetlands are of interest almost solely as a great haunt of seals, which share possession with albatrosses, penguins, and other sea fowl. The capture of the seals, which began shortly after the islands were rediscovered by Captain William Smith of the brig " William " in 1819, has been carried on to the present time. Dirck Gheritz wa,s probably the first discoverer, in 1598. Edward Bransfield, of the frigate "Andromache," ascertained the extent of the group in 1820; and Captain Weddell (1820-21), D'Urville (1838), and Wilkes (1839) explored the islands in detail. A smaller group of islands - Coronation Island, Laurie Island, &c. - lying 200 miles east of the South Shetlands, bears the name of New or South Orkney.