Lake Fryxell

Fryxell basin, Taylor Valley      Waterbody ID: 14



Lake Fryxell basin is formed by a moraine depression in a wider portion of the Taylor Valley. It has a number of moraine islands and shallower areas, as well as several relatively well developed deltas. The lake is fed by at least 10 meltwater streams with a total drainage catchment of 230 km2. The lake is dammed to the southwest by the Canada Glacier and is topographically closed. It is perennially ice covered; during summer months, an ice-free moat generally forms around much of the lake margin. Lake levels have risen ~2 m between 1971 and 1996. There are no surface outflows; the only known water loss is through ice ablation (evaporation, sublimation and physical scouring). Lake elevation: 18 m. Maximum depth: 20 m.


Environmental data

Hydrological, biological, chemical, and physical property measurements have been made for a number of McMurdo Dry Valley streams and lakes.

See: LTER Data


Diatom taxa found in
Lake Fryxell

  • Chamaepinnularia cymatopleura
  • Craspedostauros laevissiumus
  • Craticula molestiformis
  • Hantzschia amphioxys
  • Humidophila arcuata
  • Humidophila arcuata var. parallela
  • Luticola bradyi
  • Luticola gaussii
  • Luticola laeta
  • Luticola permuticopsis
  • Marine diatom fragments
  • Mayamaea atomus
  • Microcostatus naumannii
  • Muelleria meridionalis
  • Muelleria peraustralis
  • Navicula gregaria
  • Navicula shackletoni
  • Nitzschia australocommutata
  • Nitzschia westiorum
  • Psammothidium papilio
  • Sabbea adminensis
  • Stauroneis latistauros

Lake Fryxell, Taylor Valley.

See: Overview maps


Robin lastname??? works on the Lake Fryxell meteorology station. 2001. Photo: Thomas Nylen.


Lake Fryxell at its contact with Canada Glacier. Further upstream, Canada Glacier blocks the Taylor Valley drainage, forming Lake Hoare. 1989. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Rich Harnish hauling lake sampling gear along the well-formed moat of Lake Fryxell. 1989. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Clear annual moat ice on Lake Fryxell 1988. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Collecting Lake Fryxell deep water for chemical and biological analysis. 0. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Lake Fryxell moat ice, early in the austral summer. Benthic algal mats are most abundant in the photic zone of the ""moat"". 1990. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Lake Fryxell pinnacle ice. As lake ice ablates, it forms bizarre shapes late in the austral summer. 1989. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Hauling lake sampling gear on Lake Fryxell. 1988. Photo: Sarah Spaulding.


Lake Fryxell reflection. 0. Photo: Michael Gooseff.