Entrance to Deception Island, with Livingston Island in the background
|Elevation||576 m (1,890 ft)|
|Prominence||576 m (1,890 ft)|
Map of Deception Island.
|Area||72 km2 (27.8 sq mi)|
|Length||12 km (7.5 mi)|
|Width||12 km (7.5 mi)|
|Administered under the Antarctic Treaty System|
Deception Island is an island in South Shetland off the Antarctic Peninsula that has, ironically, 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; it is now administered under the Antarctic Treaty System.
The island, located at Coordinates: , 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.
Several maars line the inside rim of the caldera, with some containing crater lakes (including one named Crater Lake). Others form bays within the harbour, such as the 1 km (0.6 mi) wide Whalers Bay. Other features of the island include Mount Achala, Primero de Mayo Bay, Sewing-Machine Needles, Telefon Bay and Telefon Ridge.
Since the early 19th century, Deception Island was a favourite refuge from the storms and icebergs of Antarctica. It was first used by sealers. The volcano has destroyed most attempts to maintain permanent facilities. In 2000, there were two summer-only scientific stations, the Spanish Gabriel de Castilla, and the Argentinian Decepción Station.
In 1829, the British Naval Expedition to the South Atlantic under the command of Captain Henry Foster in HMS Chanticleer stopped at Deception Island. The expedition conducted a topographic survey and scientific experiments, particularly pendulum and magnetic observations.
In 1906, a Norwegian-Chilean whaling company started using Whalers Bay as a base for a factory ship, the Gobernador Bories. Other whaling operations followed and by 1914 there were 13 factory ships based there. The station did not process whale blubber, which was done on the ships, but boiled down the carcasses in large iron boilers to extract additional whale oil, which was stored in iron tanks. Whale oil prices dropped during the Great Depression, making the station uneconomic and it was abandoned in 1931. Advances in factory ships made shore stations for carcass processing unnecessary, and it was never reoccupied. Forty-five men were buried in the station's cemetery, but the cemetery was itself buried by volcano eruption in 1969.
The British established a permanent base on Deception Island on 3 February 1944, as part of Operation Tabarin. This was occupied until 5 December 1967, when a volcanic eruption forced a temporary withdrawal. It was used again between 4 December 1968 and 23 February 1969, when further volcanic activity caused it to be abandoned.
When the US Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind visited Deception Island in 1963/64, the British and Chilean scientific stations were active. The Chileans had an airstrip, with a DeHavilland Beaver supplying their base from Punta Arenas. There were active fumaroles spewing noxious gases and some fumaroles had churning volcanic ash in the depressions. The Eastwind ran aground on 21 January 1964, which is likely the only time an American military ship ever ran aground inside an active volcano. The ship refloated with the rising tide.
In 1969, a violent volcanic eruption demolished the Chilean stations Pedro Aguirre Cerda and Gutierrez Vargas. Remains at Whalers Bay include rusting boilers and tanks, an aircraft hangar and the British scientific station house (Biscoe House), with the middle torn out by the 1969 mudflows. A bright orange derelict airplane fuselage was removed in 2004.
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. 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.
Important Bird Area 
Baily Head, a prominent headland forming the easternmost extremity of the island, has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a very large breeding colony of Chinstrap Penguins (100,000 pairs). The 78 ha IBA comprises the ice-free headland and about 800 m of beach on either side of it. Other birds known to nest at the site include Brown Skuas, Cape Petrels and Snowy Sheathbills.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Deception Island|
- Composite Antarctic Gazetteer
- List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands
- List of Antarctic islands south of 60° S
- List of volcanoes in Antarctica
- South Shetland Islands
- Territorial claims in Antarctica
- "Deception Island". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=1900-03%3D. Retrieved 25 December 2008.
- "Gabriel De Castilla". New Zealand: Shades Stamp Shop. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
- "4 April - Otter Recovery". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
- Gordon Elliott Fogg, A history of Antarctic science, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 72-74
- Fuchs, Vivian (1982). Of Ice and Men. Oswestry: Anthony Nelson. pp. 291–2. ISBN 0-904614-06-9.
- From the log book of Christopher Malinger, Seaman on the USCGC Eastwind
- Jurassic Liverworts from Mount Flora, Hope Bay, Antarctica
- "Baily Head, Deception Island". BirdLife data zone: Important Bird Areas. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- Official Deception Island website. Accessed 3 May 2007.
- Volcanic Activity. Accessed 4 June 2007.
- Deception Island, Eco-Photo Explorers. Accessed 3 May 2007.
- LeMasurier, W. E.; Thomson, J. W.; et al. (1990). Volcanoes of the Antarctic Plate and Southern Oceans. American Geophysical Union. ISBN 0-87590-172-7.
- Images from Deception Island
- Página Web de la base Gabriel de Castilla
- "Steamed Ice and Frosted Lava" Account of a tourist visit to Deception Island
- British Deception Island station
- 21 photos of Deception island
- A visit to Deception Island, and other places on the Antarctic Peninsula, in 2002/3
- Antarctic suspense novel Deception Island