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Queen Maud Land Norway

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Queen Maud Land (Norwegian: Dronning Maud Land) is a c. 2.7 million-square-kilometre (1 million sq mi) region of Antarctica claimed as a dependent territory by Norway. The territory lies between 20° west and 45° east, between the British Antarctic Territory to the west and the Australian Antarctic Territory to the east. The latitudinal limits of the territory are not officially defined. Positioned in East Antarctica, the territory comprises one-sixth of the total area of Antarctica. The claim is named for Maud (1869–1938), queen consort of King Haakon VII of Norway.

Queen Maud Land

Norwegian Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen was the first person to set foot in the territory in 1930. On 14 January 1939, the territory was claimed by Norway.

From 1939 until 1945, Germany claimed New Swabia, which consisted of part of Queen Maud Land. On 23 June 1961, Queen Maud Land became part of the Antarctic Treaty System, making it a demilitarised zone.


It is one of two Antarctic claims made by Norway, the other being Peter I Island. They are administrated by the Polar Affairs Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police in Oslo.

Most of the territory is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, and a tall ice wall stretches throughout its coast. In some areas further within the ice sheet, mountain ranges breach through the ice, allowing for birds to breed and the growth of a limited flora.


The region is divided into the Princess Martha Coast, Princess Astrid Coast, Princess Ragnhild Coast, Prince Harald Coast and Prince Olav Coast. The waters off the coast are called the King Haakon VII Sea.

There is no permanent population, although there are twelve active research stations housing a maximum average of 40 scientists, the numbers fluctuating depending on the season. Six are occupied year-round, while the remainder are seasonal summer stations.


The main aerodromes for intercontinental flights, corresponding with Cape Town, South Africa, are Troll Airfield, near the Norwegian Troll research station, and a runway at the Russian Novolazarevskaya Station.

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Queen Maud Land extends from the boundary with Coats Land in the west to the boundary with Enderby Land in the east, and is divided into the Princess Martha Coast, Princess Astrid Coast, Princess Ragnhild Coast, Prince Harald Coast and Prince Olav Coast. The territory is estimated to cover around 2,700,000 square kilometres (1,000,000 sq mi). It is not officially defined where the limits of the claim are in the south and in the sea in the north. The sea that extends off the coast between the longitudal limits of Queen Maud Land is generally called King Haakon VII Sea.

There is no ice-free land at the coast; the coast consists of a 20-to-30-metre-high (66 to 98 ft) wall of ice throughout almost the entire territory. It is thus only possible to disembark from a ship in a few places. Some 150 to 200 kilometres (93 to 120 mi) from the coast, rocky peaks pierce the ice cap, itself at a mean height of around 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, with the highest point at Jøkulkyrkja (3,148 metres or 10,328 feet) in the Mühlig-Hofmann Mountains. The other major mountain ranges are the Heimefront Range, Orvin Mountains, Wohlthat Mountains and Sør Rondane Mountains.
Geologically, the ground of Queen Maud Land is dominated by precambrian gneiss, formed c. 1–1.2 Ga, before the creation of the supercontinent Gondwana. The mountains consist mostly of crystalline and granitic rocks, formed c. 500–600 Ma in the Pan-African orogeny during the assembly of Gondwana. In the farthest western parts of the territory, there are younger sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Research on the thickness of the ice has revealed that without the ice, the coast would be similar to those of Norway and Greenland, with deep fjords and islands.



Legal status

Like all other territorial claims in Antarctica, the Norwegian claim of Queen Maud Land (and Peter I Island) is subject to the Antarctic Treaty System. The treaty makes clear that Antarctica can only be used for peaceful purposes, and assures the freedom of scientific activity. It promotes international scientific cooperation, and bans any nuclear activity. Although territorial claims are not invalidated by the treaty, all claims are effectively suspended as long as the treaty is in force. Norway, Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all mutually recognised each other's claims in Antarctica.
Norwegian administration of Queen Maud Land is controlled by the Polar Affairs Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police, located in Oslo. The annexation of the territory is regulated by the Dependency Act of 24 March 1933, with Queen Maud Land added on 21 June 1957. It establishes that Norwegian criminal law, private law and procedural law applies to the territory, in addition to other laws that explicitly state they are valid in the territory. Furthermore, it establishes that all the land belongs to the state, and prohibits both nuclear explosions and the storage of nuclear waste.
Since 5 May 1995, Norwegian law has required all Norwegian activity in Antarctica to follow international environmental law for Antarctica. Norwegian citizens who plan activities in Queen Maud Land must therefore report to the Norwegian Polar Institute, which may prohibit any nonconforming activity. Those who visit Queen Maud Land must follow laws regarding protection of nature, treatment of waste, pollution and insurance for search and rescue operations.