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Kerguelen (kûrˈgəlĕn, Fr. kĕrgālĕnˈ) [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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