Deception Island is an active volcano in the South Shetland off the coast of Antarctica. Its unique landscape comprises barren volcanic slopes, steaming beaches and ash-layered glaciers. It has a distinctive horse-shoe shape with a large flooded caldera. This opens to the sea through a narrow channel at Neptunes Bellows, forming a natural sheltered harbour. It is one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of a restless volcano.
Its unique shape makes it an extremely safe harbor for vessels, and has long served as refuge for seal and whale expeditions. The island was abandoned during the Great Depression due to falling prices of whale oil, but was once again re-occupied by scientific adventurers in the 1940s. All that changed with two massive volcanic eruptions, in 1967 and 1969, when all business was shut down. The only current research bases are run by the Argentine Army and Spain.