Last Updated: Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hunga Tonga volcano eruption creates large new island

A large new island has been formed at the eruption site between Hunga Ha’apai and Hunga Tonga, 65 km from Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources said.

The volcano has been erupting from two vents, one on the uninhabited island of Hunga Ha'apai and the other underwater about 100 metres offshore. The new island is more than one kilometre wide, two kilometres long and about 100 metres high.

"During our observations the volcano was erupting about every five minutes to a height of about 400 metres, accompanied by some large rocks," the ministry said.

"Ash fall and acidic rain was observed within 10 km of the eruption", Matangi Tonga Online reported. Leaves on trees on Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai have died, probably caused by volcanic ash and gases.


According to the Tonga’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Hunga Tonga volcano rumbled to life on December 20 for the first time in five years.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai is an underwater volcano off the coast of Tonga, just 62 km (39 mi) northwest of the Tongan capital of Nuku'alofa.

Photo via Matangi Tonga Online: Steam rises over 1000m as a new island forms between Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai, seen from the South east (Tonga Govt.)

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