Anoxic Pit

Ice formation creates hypersaline water, which sinks to form pools at the seafloor. Organisms killed by the salt decay, creating an oxygen-poor zone.

This environment is very inhospitable to most eukaryotic life. Antarctic foraminifera (unlike a few of their temperate counterparts) do not appear to survive well in this site. Organisms like those below can survive near the boundaries, but if they wander into the central anoxic area, they can die.

This image includes some of the common macrofauna of the region, including Antarctic scallops and two species of brittle star. The pale, hollow tube in the right foreground is a nemertean worm.

Photo Credit: Steve Alexander

Sediment in this area is a little finer than that found at most other Explorers Cove sites. It is possible that the relatively high meltwater input at this near-shore site may cause wind-blown fine sands to be preferentially deposited here.