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.
- Analysis of an Aquifer Test at St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska. This 30-page PDF was prepared by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and provides detailed information about the water supply available on St. Paul Islands. The site presents the results of an aquifer test and estimates potential yield from current wells. Tables, diagrams and well logs are included. (more info)
- Tides in the Bering Sea. This Institute of Marine Science website provides information about tidal motions in south-central Bering Sea. Detailed information concerning tides in the Pribilof Islands and Canyon is provided, and many figures accompany the text. ( This site is likely no longer available. )
- Water-Resources Reconnaissance of St. George Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska. This 15-page PDF was prepared by the USGS and provides information about sources of water and groundwater quality on St. George Island. Maps, tables, chemical analysis, cross sections and well logs are included in the report. (more info)
- Water-Resources Reconnaissance of the Southeastern Part of St. Paul Island, Pribilof Islands, Alaska. This 12-page PDF was prepared by the USGS to investigate sources of water and groundwater quality on St. Paul Island in order to design a well field without inducing saline water. Tables, diagrams and maps accompany the text. (more info)
For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide