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Report on Deception Island (Antarctica) — February 2003

Deception Island

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 28, no. 2 (February 2003)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Deception Island (Antarctica) Fumarole temperatures stable during 2000-2002; sulfur dioxide detected

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Deception Island (Antarctica) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 28:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200302-390030

Deception Island


62.9567°S, 60.6367°W; summit elev. 602 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Deception Volcano Observatory has monitored the volcano every austral summer since 1993. Investigations of fumarole geochemistry, thermal anomalies, and volcanic activity were made during the summer survey of 2000 and 2002 by the Argentina Research Group. Compared to measurements made during the latest surveys, temperatures of fumaroles and hot soils remained stable at 99-101°C in Fumarole Bay, 97°C on Caliente Hill, 65°C in Whalers Bay, 41°C in Telefon Bay, and 70°C in Pendulum Cove (figure 18).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 18. Map of Deception Island showing the area of geothermal anomalies during austral summer 2002. Courtesy of A.T.Caselli, M. dos Santos Afonso, and M. Agusto.

Following a possible magma intrusion during the summer of 1999 (BGVN 24:05), the composition of gases from fumarolic vents at Fumarole Bay changed compared to previous surveys. The chemical composition of the fumarolic gases was mainly H2O (70-95 vol. %), CO2 (5-30%), H2S (0.1-0.3%), and SO2 (0.01-0.08%). For the first time, SO2 was detected. Elemental sulfur and iron sulfide coatings on lapilli were found around the vent outlets and at a few centimeters of depth, respectively. Elemental sulfur and iron sulfide occurrences were intermittent during the 2000 and 2002 summer surveys.

Geological Summary. Ring-shaped Deception Island, at the SW end of the South Shetland Islands, NE of Graham Land Peninsula, was constructed along the axis of the Bransfield Rift spreading center. A narrow passageway named Neptunes Bellows provides an entrance to a natural harbor within the 8.5 x 10 km caldera that was utilized as an Antarctic whaling station. Numerous vents along ring fractures circling the low 14-km-wide island have been reported active for more than 200 years. Maars line the shores of 190-m-deep Port Foster caldera bay. Among the largest of these maars is 1-km-wide Whalers Bay, at the entrance to the harbor. Eruptions during the past 8,700 years have been dated from ash layers in lake sediments on the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring islands.

Information Contacts: A.T.Caselli, M. dos Santos Afonso, and M. Agusto, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto Antártico Argentino, Ciudad Universitaria, Pabellón 2, C1428EHA Buenos Aires, Argentina.