Deception Island is an island in South Shetland off the Antarctic Peninsula, which has one of the safest harbours in Antarctica. The island is the caldera of an active volcano, which caused serious damage to the local scientific stations in 1967 and 1969. The island previously held a whaling station; it is now a tourist destination and scientific outpost, with research bases being run by Argentina and Spain. Various countries have previously asserted sovereignty, but it is now administered under the Antarctic Treaty System.
The island is approximately circular with a diameter of about 12 km (7.5 mi). A peak on the east side of the island, Mount Pond, has an elevation of 542 m (1,778 ft), and over half the island is covered by glaciers. The centre of the island is a caldera formed in a huge (VEI-6) eruption which has been flooded by the sea to form a large bay, now called Port Foster, about 9 km (5.6 mi) long and 6 km (3.7 mi) wide. The bay has a narrow entrance, just 230 m (755 ft) wide, called Neptunes Bellows. Adding to the hazard is Ravn Rock, which lies 2.5 m (8.2 ft) below the water in the middle of the channel. Just inside Neptunes Bellows lies the cove Whalers Bay, which is bordered by a large black-sand beach.
Ecology And Micro Climates:
Deception Island has become a popular tourist stop in Antarctica because of its several colonies of chinstrap penguins, as well as the novel possibility of making a warm bath by digging into the sands of the beach. Bailey Head on the west side of the island holds one of the world's largest chinstrap rookeries. Mount Flora is the first site in Antarctica where fossilized plants were discovered. After the Norwegian Coastal Cruise Liner MS Nordkapp ran aground off the coast of Deception Island on 30 January 2007, fuel from the ship washed into a bay. Ecological damage has not yet been determined. On 4 February 2007 the Spanish Gabriel de Castilla research station on Deception Island reported that water and sand tests were clean and that they had not found signs of the oil, estimated as 500 to 750 litres (130 to 200 US gallons; 110 to 160 imperial gallons) of light diesel.
- Elevation: 576 m (1,890 ft)
- Prominence: 576 m (1,890 ft)
- Type: Caldera
- Last eruption: 1970