Four water masses were distinguished in the upper water layer between Elephant Island and the South Orkneys. Measurements of temperature, salinity, concentrations of dissolved oxygen and silicates were used for the analysis of the hydrological situation and to recognise the origin of water masses. For additional information, nitrates and chlorophyll concentrations were used. Drake Passage and Bransfield Strait waters occupied the western part of the investigated area, from surface to 150 m depth. Below, the Circumpolar Warm Deep Waters (CWDW) were found. The region east of 53.5°W was occupied by winter Weddell Sea water. Above this, a 45 m thin layer of summer modification of Weddell Sea Surface Water was found between 49°W and the South Orkneys. The highestchlorophyll α concentrations were found in this modified water.