, Volume 184, Issue 1–2, pp 51–60

Thermal summer characteristics of lakes and ponds on Deception Island, Antarctica

  • Edmundo C. Drago


During January and February 1981, water temperature measurements were made in lakes and ponds of Deception Island, Antarctica. The depth of these waterbodies varies between 0.88 m and 36 m, with maximum surface areas of over 290 000 m2. Some ponds freeze completely during winter, and the lakes are covered by ice for 9–10 months of each year. The maximum ice thickness measured in early summer (December), dit not exceed 0.5 m.

Solar radiation and geothermal heating largely determine the thermal structure of these aquatic environments. The water temperature of tributary meltwater streams did not exceed 3 °C, but the littoral waters reached 9 °C. The bottom water temperatures of meromictic lakes 5 (Irízar) and 9, are 12.3 °C and 19.9 °C respectively. These deep waters are heated from geothermal sources and it is possible that some ponds may be also influenced by their proximity to hot soils. With the exception of the meromictic lakes, the aquatic environments studied here did not show a vertical stratification of temperature.

It is not possible to establish a general thermal classification for the waterbodies of Deception Island. The interaction of the lacustrine morphology, solar radiation and vulcanism produce contrasting thermal features. Taking into account only the upper layers of meromictic lakes (mixolimnion), and emphasizing the fact of that some ponds freeze completely during winter, the waterbodies of Deception Island would be classified as ‘pleomictics’ (Paschaslki, 1964).

Key words

Antarctica Deception Island lakes ponds water temperature geothermal heating thermal classification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmundo C. Drago
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Limnología (CONICET)Santo Tomé, Santa FeArgentina

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