Hydrology of the Pribilof Islands

This page was written by Jeanette Wolak and Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Basalt cliffs at Garden Cove, St. George Island, AK. Details

The Pribilof Islands are located in the south-central Bering Sea and are surrounded on all sides by saline waters.

St. George Island measures approximately 40 square miles in area and receives an average of 30 inches (762 mm) total precipitation per year with a mean annual temperature of 36°F. Surface water on St. George is limited to a few small lakes (e.g. Upper Lake, Seal Lake) and a freshwater spring at Garden Cove (Anderson, 1976 (more info) ).

St. Paul Island is similar in size to St. George, but receives slightly less total precipitation per year, 24 inches (609 mm). Surface water occurs on St. Paul in the form of several lakes, including Big Lake in the northeastern portion of the island (Feulner, 1980 (more info) ; Munter and Allely, 1994).

The volcanic rocks of the Pribilofs are highly permeable, allowing for rapid infiltration of precipitation and snowmelt. Groundwater may be retained between volcanic units as perched aquifers or may exist as freshwater lenses above saltwater in the subsurface (Feulner, 1980 (more info) ).

To further investigate the hydrology of the Pribilof Islands, check out the links below:

Hydrology of the Pribilofs

Resources containing information about the hydrology of the Pribilof Islands, Alaska.

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.