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Report on Deception Island (Antarctica) — August 1987

Deception Island

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 8 (August 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Deception Island (Antarctica) Plume on satellite imagery; local seismicity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Deception Island (Antarctica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198708-390030

Deception Island


63.001°S, 60.652°W; summit elev. 602 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Infrared imagery from the NOAA 10 polar orbiting weather satellite on 23 July at about 1300 GMT showed a plume that extended ~100 km SE from Deception Island. In early August, personnel on King George Island reported that seismic instruments at the Chinese "Great Wall" station, 110 km from Deception Island, had recently detected local seismicity, but gave no date or time. During an 11 August overflight, no volcanic activity was evident on Deception Island [see also 13:02].

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 open to the ocean 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: W. Gould, NOAA; G. Gutheridge, National Science Foundation.