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Thermal Activity on the Rise at Hotspring Island

Thermal activity is on the rise at Hotspring Island
Thermal activity is on the rise at Hotspring Island © Parks Canada

In May 2014, Gwaii Haanas staff checked in at Gandll K’in Gwaay.yaay (Hotspring Island) and found increased water flow, higher temperatures and thermal activity at higher elevations than recorded since the 2012 earthquake.

Thermal activity and water flow on the island stopped after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake rattled the west coast of Moresby Island in late October 2012. In early 2013, Parks Canada scientists using heat detecting devices that had been installed post-earthquake discovered some good news. Hot water seeps were observed above-ground, but below the high tide line near two of the hot pools, and low level thermal activity was detected in all areas of the island where it had previously occurred.

Over the last year, further observations have been made and as of May 2014, the highest water temperature recorded is 60 degrees Celsius and thermal activity is increasing in the areas near the main pool.

Water flow from the visible seeps has not returned to previous levels, but it is on the rise.

Parks Canada staff will be joined by a hot springs expert from Natural Resources Canada in July in the continual effort to monitor flow and temperature of water at the site.

Haida Gwaii Watchmen will be stationed at Hotspring Island this summer and visitors are able to visit, but Parks Canada cannot confirm whether the hot springs will be back to normal in the future.

“Parks Canada will continue to observe the situation throughout the coming months. We are hopeful,” says Field Unit superintendent Ernie Gladstone. “Hotspring Island is a special place for the Haida and all visitors to Gwaii Haanas. This is a promising development but the mystery of what will happen to the hot pools continues.”