Tierra del Fuego A Land at
the End of the World
Fuego. is the archipelago, at the southern extremity of South America.
The total area is 28,473 sq. mi. (73,745 sq. km.), about two-thirds of which is in Chile
and one-third in Argentina.
Tierra del Fuego is a place of
extremes: here there is the world's southernmost national park accessible from the world's
southernmost city (Ushuaia).The main attraction of the park is water: fishing, maritime
wildlife, stunning fjords, transcendent seascapes. Although the park's 240 sq. mi. (622
sq. km.) are completely contained in the Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego island, but
the eastern edge of the park is Chile.
While Tierra del Fuego is
surrounded on three sides by two oceans, the winds blow this way from the Pacific and that
way from the Atlantic, constantly bringing clouds and rainstorms.
The coastal wildlife is rich and
diverse, with many sea birds, and seals.
Much damage has been done by white
settlers with the introduction of foreign species of animals which destroyed local flora
and with systematic destruction of local fauna considered too competitive for their
flocks. Just within the borders of Tierra del Fuego National Park lies Glaciar Martial
overlooking the city of Ushuaia.
The Beagle Channel running
eastwest is about 150 miles (240 km) long . It separates the archipelago's main
island to the north from Navarino, Hoste, and other smaller islands to the south. At its
western end the channel splits into two branches that encircle Isla Gordon. The eastern
portion forms part of the ChileArgentina border, while the western portion lies
entirely within Chile.
The Beagle Channel was named for
the British ship HMS Beagle, aboard which Charles Darwin explored the area during
his first South American journey (183334).