Penguin Island

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 62.1°S
  • 57.93°W

  • 180 m
    590 ft

  • 390031
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Penguin Island.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Penguin Island.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Penguin Island.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1905 CE

180 m / 590 ft


Volcano Types


Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The small 1.4 x 1.7 km Penguin Island is located off the SE coast of King George Island in Antarctica's Shetland Islands, west of the axis of the Bransfield Rift. The most prominent feature on Penguin Island is Deacon Peak, a basaltic scoria cone with a 350-m-wide well-preserved summit crater that forms the 180-m-high summit on the SW side of the island. A small plug of basaltic lava occupies the 75-m-deep crater. Petrel Crater, a 300-m-wide maar, is located near the east coast. The formation of Deacon Peak scoria cone was dated by lichenometry at about 300 years ago, and the younger Petrel Crater maar was dated at about 100 years (Birkenmajer 1979). Some of the historical reports of fumarolic activity on nearby Bridgeman Island are attributed to the more youthful Penguin Island.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Birkenmajer K, 1979. Age of the Penguin Island volcano, South Shetland Islands (West Antarctica), by the Lichenometric Method. Bull Acad Polonaise, Sci Ser Sci Terre, 27: 69-76.

Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1972. Distribucion del volcanismo activo de Chile y la reciente erupcion del Volcan Villarrica. Instituto Geog Militar Chile, O/T 3491.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

LeMasurier W E, Thomson J W (eds), 1990. Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. Washington, D C: Amer Geophys Union, 487 p.

Weaver S D, Saunders A D, Pankhurst R J, Tarney J, 1979. A geochemical study of magmatism associated with the initial stages of back-arc spreading. Contr Mineral Petr, 68: 151-169.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1905 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Lichenometry NE flank (Petrel Crater)
1850 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Deacon Peak
1683 (?) Unknown Confirmed   Lichenometry Deacon Peak

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Isla Pinguino


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Deacon Peak Cone 180 m


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Petrel Crater Maar

Photo Gallery

The formation of Petrel maar on the eastern side of Penguin Island was dated at about 1905 AD by the lichenometric method. This supports a whalers report of an eruption sometime before December 1909 that was mistakenly attributed to Bridgeman Island. The 300-m-wide, ice-filled Petrel maar is one of two principal vents on Penguin Island.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
The small 1.4 x 1.7 km Penguin Island, seen here from the SW, is located off the SE coast of King George Island in Antarctica's Shetland Islands. The most prominent feature on Penguin Island is Deacon Peak (center), a basaltic scoria cone with a 350-m-wide well-preserved summit crater. Petrel Crater, a 300-m-wide maar, is located behind Deacon Peak, out of view in this photo. Both Deacon Peak and Petrel Crater were formed within the past few hundred years.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
Deacon Peak scoria cone on Penguin Island contains a 350-m-wide, 75-m-deep summit crater. The upper slopes of the cone are composed of reddish oxidized pyroclastic rocks and are free of ice in an otherwise ice-mantled part of Antarctica. The formation of Deacon Peak was dated at about 300 years ago using lichenometry, which is based on the calibration of lichen growth rates.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
This large block, about 4 cu m in size, was expelled by phreatomagmatic explosions accompanying the formation of Petrel Crater maar on Penguin Island. The eruption, which formed a low 300-m-wide crater about 100 years ago, marked the most recent activity on Penguin Island. The growth rate of the reddish-orange lichens mantling the upper part of the ejected block was used to estimate the date of the eruption.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Penguin Island in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Penguin Island Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.