Heard Island and McDonald Islands

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The Heard Island and McDonald Islands[1] (abbreviated as HIMI[2]) are an Australian external territory and volcanic group of barren Antarctic islands, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica, approximately 4,099 km (2,547 mi) southwest of Perth,[3] 3,845 km (2,389 mi) southwest of Cape Leeuwin, Australia, 4,200 km (2,600 mi) southeast of South Africa, 3,830 km (2,380 mi) southeast of Madagascar, 1,630 km (1,010 mi) north of Antarctica, and 450 km (280 mi) southeast of Kerguelen.[4]

They are in the Southern Ocean according to the Australian definition but not according to the International Hydrographic Organization definition.

Discovered in the mid-19th century, they have been territories of Australia since 1947 and contain the only two active volcanoes in Australian territory, one of which, Mawson Peak, is the highest Australian mountain.

The group's overall size is 372 square kilometres (144 sq mi) in area and it has 101.9 km (63 mi) of coastline. The islands are uninhabited.



Heard Island, by far the largest of the group, is a 368-square-kilometre (142 sq mi) bleak and mountainous island located at 53°06′00″S 73°31′00″E / 53.1°S 73.5166667°E / -53.1; 73.5166667. Its mountains are covered in glaciers (the island is 80% covered with ice[6]) and dominated by Mawson Peak, a 2,745-metre (9,006 ft) high complex volcano which forms part of the Big Ben massif. A July 2000 satellite image from the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) Thermal Alert Team, University of Hawai'i showed an active 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) long (and 50–90 metres/164–295 feet wide) lava flow trending south-west from the summit of Big Ben.[7]

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