Macquarie Island is a sub-antarctic island located in the Southern Ocean . Part of the state of Tasmania, it is 1500 kilometres south east of the island of Tasmania and 1300 kilometres north of the Antarctic continent. Macquarie Island, or «Macca» as it is generally referred to, is 34 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide at its widest point. It has a total surface area of 128 square kilometres. It is a Tasmanian State Reserve managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. In 1996 Macquarie Island was nominated by the Australian Government for inscription on the World Heritage Register, mainly for its unique geological features. The island is the exposed crest of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, raised to its present position where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate meets the Pacific plate. It is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea level. These unique exposures include excellent examples of pillow basalts and other extrusive rocks. Macca is home to a large variety of wildlife. Elephant and Fur seals breed on the island as do Royal, King, Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins. The Royal Penguin is endemic to Macquarie Island. A penguin rookery at Hurd Point at the southern end of the island is home to over a million birds during the breeding season. Other fauna of the island includes Skuas, Petrels and a number of different types of Albatross. There are no trees on the island although the island is covered by tussock grass and other plants. For over 50 years Australia has operated a research station at the northern end of the island. The station (built in 1948) is home to over 40 people over the summer and around 20 through winter. A wide variety of research is carried out on the island including biology, botany, auroral physics, meteorology and medical research.