The Volcano-Island of Zavodovski
The nearly ice-free Zavodovski Island is a volcano that is still highly active, located about 500 km (300 miles) northeast of South Georgia and 1,850 km (1,150 miles) from the Antarctic Continent. The slopes of Mount Asphyxia, Zavodovski Island’s 550-meter-high cone (1,800 feet), are heated by its volcanic activity. The last eruption was in 2016, when much of the island was covered in ash. The sulphurous smell of the island gave the mountain its name, along with many other Zavodovski Island landmarks: Pungent Point, Acrid Point, Noxious Bluff, and Stench Point.
Zavodovski Island’s Colder Climate
Though Zavodovski Island is more northern than the South Shetlands, the climate is colder. This is due to Zavodovski’s proximity to the Weddell Sea, which brings cold water and icebergs on its current. The climate is classified as polar, and the island experiences frequent cloud cover, low temperatures, and strong winds. Landing at Zavodovski Island is often difficult or impossible due to its rough winds and high ocean swells.
The Penguins of Zavodovski Island
Apart from its rugged conditions, Zavodovski Island has a lot to offer. It is home to around a million pairs of chinstrap penguins, one seventh of the world’s total population. There are also about 180,000 macaroni penguins on the island. The 2016 eruption severely threatened these penguin colonies, as many of the animals suffocated in the toxic gasses.