Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

The Chatham Islands

  • Eric Bird
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_244


The Chatham Islands ( Fig. 22.2.1) lie about 856 km east of Christchurch at latitude 44° S and longitude 176° 30' W. They are thus strictly in the western hemisphere, but the International Date Line has been moved east to avoid confusion. The three largest islands are Chatham Island (90,000 ha), Pitt Island (6,190 ha), and South East Island (218 ha), and there are six smaller islands and many tall cliffy islets and steep rocky stacks. About 40 km to the east are the high stacks known as Motuhara (Forty Fours) Rocks (43° 58' S, 175° 30' E), then about 8,000 km of open ocean to the southern coast of Chile. The islands were sighted by William Broughton in 1791, who named them after his naval ship, Chatham. They had already been occupied by a Polynesian (Moriori, ­pre-dating the Maori) population for several centuries. They became part of New Zealand in 1901.


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  1. Campbell H (1996) Geology. In the Chatham Islands: heritage and conservation. Canterbury University Press, Chri, New Zealand, pp 34–48Google Scholar
  2. Campbell H et al. (1993) Cretaceous-Cenozoic geology and biostratigraphy of the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, Vol 2. Institute of Geolog­ical and Nuclear Sciences, Monograph, Wellington, New ZealandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Bird
    • 1
  1. 1. GeostudiesAustralia