Kerguelen kûr´gəlĕn, Fr. kĕrgālĕn´ [key], subantarctic island of volcanic origin, 1,318 sq mi (3,414 sq km), in the S Indian Ocean, c.3,300 mi (5,310 km) SE of the southern tip of Africa largest of the 300 Kerguelen Islands (total area c.2,700 sq mi/7,000 sq km), part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands . Kerguelen Island rises in the south to Mt. Rose (6,120 ft/1,865 m), and Cook Glacier covers its western third. Glacial lakes, peat marshes, lignite, and guano deposits are found on the island it also has seals, rabbits, wild hogs, and wild dogs. The island, famous for the native Kerguelen cabbage, is used mainly as a research station and a seal-hunting and whaling base. Kerguelen was discovered in 1772 by the French navigator Yves Joseph de Kerguélen-Trémarec, who named it Desolation Island. It has belonged to France since 1893.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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