Martin Vaz Island Group
by Wolfgang Schippke, DC3MF
The Martin Vaz Group (from: /1/)
The group of the Martin Vaz Islands is located about 47 km east of Ilha
do Trindade and adminstered by the Brasilian Atlantic Ocean Devision, under
the judicative of the Brasilian Military.
The group consists of three bigger and several smaller islets and rocks. The largest of this islands is Martin Vaz, 500 m long, 800 m wide and 175 m high. Ilha do Norte is 65 m high, and Ilha do Sul 122 m are the two other larger islets. The complete area of land is about 2000 m². The islands, all of volcanic origin, risies abruptly from the sea ground, are steep-sided and cliffy.
The main islands are covered with Tussok grass, small falt bushes but no trees. The main population are endemical Martin Vaz spiders and hundrets of sea-birds.
It is not shure if the Spain Cabral discovered the islands in 1500 on his way from Brasilia to India, but he reported a great number of islands, so it could not be said if he realy reached the group. The islands wer discovered in 1512 by the Portugese Juan da Nova Castelle, and visited in 1514 by J.de la Cosa, who named the rocks Santa Maria Esmeralda. In 1768 the French LaPerouse wanted to claimb the rocks, but two of his sailors lost here live, by the landing experiment. In honorol of a died midshipsman, LaPerouse named the group as Martin Vaz.
In 1951 the Brasilian Navy claimbed the islands, now official named Martin Vaz, for Brasilia, and a military scientific ship wantet to land and want to banner here. The vessel was wrecked on the frontig reef, and 12 sailors were killed.
In 1960 a British scientific expedition with the ship HMS 'Owen' found a save anchorage, and climebed the largest island. The first and till today only landing on Ilha do Sul was made in 1962 by a Brasilian helicopter team, from Trindade Isl. Dr.E.P.Scorza found in some probes the extreme rare Haüyynit, only found in former times in China and in Slowak Rep.
/1/ R.C.Mitchell-Thome, "The Geology of the South Atlantic Islands", Berlin, 1970
/2/ Wolfgang Schippke, "Martin Vaz", Funktelegramm, 1995, Heft November