[WORLDKINGS] Exceptional places around the world (P.143) - Deception Island (Antarctica): The curious case of thriving wildlife on this eerie polar volcano island


(WorldKings.org) The mysterious Deception Island, teeming with life despite its bleak reputation.

In a tiny corner of one of Earth’s harshest, coldest regions, an unlikely force continues to shift and change the landscape: an active volcano.

Deception Island, made of the volcano’s caldera and located near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula, has erupted several times since humans first set foot in the South Shetlands around 1820. The active volcano is home to a wide variety of wildlife and has repeatedly spewed ash and hot lava into the frigid waters of the surrounding ocean.

Since its discovery, the island has played host to brutal seal- and whale-hunting groups that used it as a base for their operations. With the rise of pelagic whaling, where fleets of ships with efficient tracking technology and on-board whale-processing equipment were sent on months-long voyages to Antarctica, the island wasn't needed as a base of whaling operations anymore—but some of the area’s whale species were hunted almost to extinction by the 1930s.

While life on the island can seem bleak and inhospitable, a diverse array of species still exists there. Because of the volcano’s activity, 18 species of moss and lichens that have not been recorded elsewhere in Antarctica live on the island. Eight seabirds also nest there, including the chinstrap penguin colony at Baily Head. The colony is comprised of over 100,000 breeding pairs of penguins—the largest group in the Antarctic Peninsula and possibly one of the largest in the world.

According to nationalgeographic.com

Mihan (Collect and edit) (World Records Union - WorldKings.org)

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