Burdwood Bank

The Burdwood Bank, called Namuncurá in Argentina and other countries, is an undersea bank with a prominence of approximately 200 metres (110 fathoms), part of the Scotia Arc projecting some 600 km (370 mi) from Cape Horn in the South Atlantic Ocean and located some 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of the Falkland Islands.[1] Argentina claims economic rights over the whole of the bank, while the United Kingdom has designated about half of the bank as part of the Falklands Outer Economic Zone.[2]

The Burdwood Bank is one of the four morphological features defined by the 200 metre (110 fathom) isobath off the coast of the Argentine — the other three being the Patagonian Shelf (Argentine Coastal Shelf), Isla de los Estados and the Falkland Islands. It forms a barrier to the northward flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The bank itself (as defined by the 200 metre; 110 fathom isobath) is some 300 km (190 mi) from east to west and some 60 km (37 mi) from north to south. The channel to the west of the bank is about 80 km (50 mi) wide and 400 m (220 fathoms) deep while the channel to the east of the bank is 130 km (81 mi) wide and has a depth of up to 1,800 m (980 fathoms) deep.[3]

Burdwood Bank was the location of several landslides some three million years ago. This in turn produced tsunami-like events that hit the Falkland Islands on its southern coast. Estimates of the size of the waves vary from up to 40 metres (130 ft) at the southern coast and up to 10 metres (33 ft) where the capital, Port Stanley, is located.[4]


Birds in this area include various species of albatrosses and petrels that feed on the banks and waters of Burdwood Bank: black-browed albatross, grey-headed albatross, wandering albatross, Tristan albatross, northern giant petrel, southern giant petrel, chin petrel White, as well as penguins: Magellanic penguin, rockhopper penguin, gentoo penguin, king penguin, and pinnipeds such as sea lions and elephant seals. The Burdwood Bank generates conditions that favor fishing productivity in the area. In the waters surrounding the bank are breeding and spawning sites for many fish species. The species community on the bank is dominated by the small nototenids Patagonotothen guntheri and Patagonian toothfish. There are also very high levels of chlorophyll.[5]


  1. "Burdwood Bank: Undersea Features". Geographical Names. Bethesda, Maryland: National Geospatial‐Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  2. "Claims and potential claims to maritime jurisdiction in the South Atlantic and Southern Oceans by Argentina and the UK" (PDF). International Boundaries Research Unit, Durham University. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  3. Guerrero, Raúl; Baldoni, Ana; Benavides, Hugo (1999). "Oceanographic Conditions at the Southern End of the Argentine Continental Slope" (PDF). INIDEP Documento Cientifico. Mar del Plata, Argentina: National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP). 5: 7–22. INIDEP Contribution Nº 1083. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. Amos, Jonathan (16 March 2020). "Ancient tsunami may have struck Falkland Islands". BBC News. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  5. Maturana, Roberto (9 April 2012). "Banco Namuncurá: un nuevo caso de entrega de soberanía a Gran Bretaña". Tribuna (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 July 2020.

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